SF State president: University failed students in protest of Jerusalem mayor
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SF State president: University failed students in protest of Jerusalem mayor

Probe into April incident in which pro-Palestinian students crashed Barkat’s speech finds institution did not have protocol in place to handle situation

San Francisco State University did not have the proper protocol in place to handle a protest against the mayor of Jerusalem during his speech on campus, an investigation has found.

In a letter accompanying the university’s report into the spring incident released Friday, the school’s president said there was significant work to be done to improve the campus climate and safety for students, the student newspaper, the Golden Gate Express, reported Sunday.

“Ensuring the campus is a safe environment for all students is my top priority for the coming year,” Leslie Wong wrote. “We failed our students — both the event attendees and the protesters — through multiple inactions.”

Also accompanying the report was a five-step protocol for campus police and university officials to use to handle such protests in the future, the Express reported.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators affiliated with the campus group the General Union of Palestinian Students’ disrupted the April speech by Nir Barkat in a lecture hall. The demonstrators, who wore traditional Arab headdresses and waved Palestinian flags, chanted into megaphones “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “intifada,” or uprising, according to reports. They also demanded that Barkat be removed from the university.

Campus police and security called to the lecture hall reportedly protected the mayor but did not stop the protesters. The event had been sponsored by San Francisco Hillel.

Following an investigation into the incident, the protesters were punished for unauthorized use of amplification, according to the report. The investigation also found that though some Hillel students felt unsafe during the demonstration, they were not in danger, as the protest was directed at the mayor and not the students, the Express reported.

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