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SDSU President Meets With Students About Anti-Muslim Fliers

One of the fliers students say began circulating in April at San Diego State University, April 27, 2016.
Pablo Tinoco
One of the fliers students say began circulating in April at San Diego State University, April 27, 2016.
SDSU President Meets With Students About Anti-Muslim Fliers

San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman and other campus officials met with students on Monday about anti-Muslim fliers that sparked a protest on campus last week.

Hirshman’s response in April to the fliers that connected a list of students to “Palestinian terrorists” drew outrage among those who were named and other members of the student body. His statement led about 70 protesters on Wednesday to surround a police car that was carrying Hirshman. The confrontation ended when the president got out of the car and gave a brief apology.

On Monday morning, members of the Muslim Student Association and Students for Justice in Palestine — both of which had members named on the fliers — spoke to Hirshman at a closed-door meeting. A joint statement released after the meeting reads:

The parties have agreed that in collaboration with AS and under the aegis of the University Senate, they will undertake a review of university policies to ensure we are balancing freedom of expression and protection from harassment.

We concluded by agreeing that in cases where racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia and all forms of bigotry result, we abhor the content of such expressions, even as we recognize the protected status of these expressions. Finally, we re-affirm our commitment to supporting an environment that fosters meaningful dialogue and mutual respect.
Fayaz Nawabi, a member of the Muslim Student Association, spoke to the students invited to the meeting. He said that the statement doesn’t settle their battle.

“They're still upset,” Nawabi said. “They feel like this is a good start, but the fact that the school did not condemn these horrible acts is unacceptable.”

David Horowitz, whose website is the apparent source of the controversial fliers, is scheduled to speak Thursday on campus at an event hosted by the San Diego State College Republicans.

Nawabi said no protest is planned.

“This individual is one that feeds off this kind of attention, and he wants people to come," he said. "We're going to stay as far away from it as possible. This is a tactic that all of us in this fight right now have agreed upon.”

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