Activist Behind Controversial Fliers Visits San Diego State
SDSU Investigates New Fliers Bearing Hate Messages In Library
Flyers bearing a hate message targeting the Muslim community were found in a library restroom at San Diego State University Friday, and the university is investigating.
"Messages of hate have no place at SDSU and we condemn them," said university president Elliot Hirshman. "Our campus is a diverse community that needs to be a welcoming and supportive environment to all students."
The discovery in Love Library came a day after San Diego State campus police were joined by a handful of officers from California State University campuses as far away as San Bernardino and Los Angeles, as well as private security guards, to help keep the peace when David Horowitz visited SDSU to speak at a gathering arranged by the San Diego State College Republicans.
Horowitz is the man behind separate fliers that named students "who have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists" and that were recently posted around SDSU and several other California university campuses.
But the Aztec Student Union building, where the event was set to take place, remained quiet.
As police officers watched over students studying for finals, about 75 people filed into a nearby room to hear Horowitz talk about combatting anti-Semitism on college campuses.
Sophomores Michael Leggarie and Ali Hauck were waiting to go inside.
"I think it's absolutely important to have diversity of opinion," Leggarie said. "But when that opinion allows you to make those kinds of accusations that risk people’s safety, that’s not OK.”
Hauck said hearing and expressing different opinions is what going to college is about.
"You have to be able to speak up and say what you believe in and maybe change some ideas if you learn something new," Hauck said. "It's just, we’re overly sensitive.”
One student, who did not wish to be named, watched for would-be protesters whom he said he would have asked to leave. "That wouldn't help us," he said.
The Muslim Student Association had asked its members not to protest Thursday's speech so as not to draw more attention to Horowitz.
Late last month, about 70 students including members of the group protested and circled a police cruiser that carried SDSU President Elliot Hirshman after he sent a campus-wide email saying the fliers were protected under freedom of speech and that all students should "present their positions on important political issues."
The students wanted Hirshman to condemn the fliers the David Horowitz Freedom Center posted on campus as anti-Muslim and threatening of students, as other CSU presidents had already done.
Hirshman met with students Monday and agreed to review the campus' policies on freedom of speech and hate speech.
But the students were unsatisfied with the meeting, and about a dozen students and community activists called for his resignation at a press conference Wednesday.
A representative for the San Diego State University College Republicans told KPBS Wednesday they invited Horowitz to campus to broaden the political dialogue among mostly liberal students.