On Thursday, CSULA student-activists, outside agitators, and even professors formed a mob at the university student union to protest the arrival of Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro. After university administrators initially banned Shapiro from speaking, CSULA president William Covino walked back his anti-free speech edict and reluctantly accepted the First Amendment.
As Shapiro spoke to a relatively calm audience inside, protests erupted outside the event room. Protesters assaulted, harassed, intimidated, shouted down, and berated event-goers, according to Daily Wire reporters on the scene. One attendee claimed that he got "punched in the ear" by a protestor. Another man, who is disabled, was pushed and kicked multiple times. Before the speech began, members of the school's black student union reportedly assaulted Breitbart journalist Adelle Nazarian.
A handful of university police roamed the student union, peering in and out of the central demonstration site. However, the officers refused to respond to the chaos and allowed protesters to physically block access to the event space. Three lines of protesters stood in front of the door, telling those interested in attending the speech to “F*ck off.”
Daily Wire reporters were told to walk away as protestors stood as sentries in front of the door, using their bodies to block all entry to the event room. CSULA is a taxpayer funded public institution. The protestors turned self-appointed gatekeepers effectively denied access to a public space. None of the individuals blocking the door were security guards or police officials.
A video of the military-style barricade is posted below:
Two protesters donned military garb, including brown berets. Another vocal protester was dressed in a “worker’s revolution shirt,” featuring stick figures holding AK-47s. One man in a beret was seen arguing with an event-goer.
Standing on the frontline of the regimented barricade was a young man covering his face with a bandana, invoking the incognito style of armed guerilla fighters in Latin America and the South Pacific. The young man feigned aggressiveness, but refrained from speaking. Instead, he chose to flick off several event-goers.
While the student union was drowned out in shouting, chaos, and noise, the protesters managed to vocalize a few anti-free speech chants in harmony, including “Racists go home,” “Get the fuck out,” “The people united cannot be divided,” and “Hate speech is not free speech!”
The mob failed to recognize that (their subjective definition of) “hate speech” is still protected as free speech by the US Constitution.
The protestors appeared to be enforcing their own version of social justice warrior blasphemy laws, complete with morally rigid language and honor-codes. Intermittently, a group of protestors would erupt, shouting "You can't go in!"
Perhaps most disconcerting of all, the university appeared to be complicit in the chaos. In fact, a subsection of the university police, known as “Eagle Patrol,” deliberately remained indifferent, shooing away event-goers who complained about harassment and assault. One Eagle Patrol officer told Daily Wire reporters, "You can't go in. People are blocking the entrance. If you want, enter at your own risk. We won't protect you."
Cal State LA University Police Eagle Patrol Supervisor J. Avaros declined to grant an interview with the Daily Wire. However, he was seen derisively dismissing an event-goer after she complained about not being allowed to enter the event space.
“I can’t believe it,” the woman is heard saying. In response, Avaros tersely replied, “Believe it.”
The exchange was caught on camera:
Photos courtesy of Michael Knowles.