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San Francisco State University. (Photo: SFSU.edu)

First Amendment Group Lambasts SFSU Over Campus Mob Ambush of Riley Gaines

‘Mob censorship’ must stop, says First Amendment group

By Thomas Buckley, April 13, 2023 3:51 pm

First amendment advocacy group FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression – demanded Tuesday that San Francisco State University officials answer whether or not they “in any way enabled or sustained” the recent campus mob ambush of Riley Gaines

Gaines, a top collegiate swimmer, is an advocate for having only actual women compete in women’s sports, and spoke on the SFSU campus last Thursday evening, eventually finding herself the target of an angry trans-activist mob:

Gaines was hurried through the gauntlet by campus police into a different room where she had to remain under guard for her own protection for about three hours while the mob outside “negotiated” conditions for her release.  It has been reported that among the conditions discussed were monetary demands from the mob.

No one in the mob was arrested, despite the presence of police witnesses, the videoed threats of physical violence, and – with the demand for money for her freedom – the potential for a charge of kidnapping, or at least false imprisonment.

FIRE has demanded that SFSU – by April 18 – to at least announce a proper investigation into the incident. Until now, SFSU administrators have only released statements seemingly praising – and offering “healing” services – to the mob that attacked Gaines.

“(SFSU officials prior) assertion that “the First Amendment was honored” during this event
does not track with the video footage that clearly showed uncontrolled and substantial disruption during Gaines’ presentation not only in the hallway (audible inside the room), but also inside the room as protestors repeatedly interrupted her speech,” said FIRE.  “We call on the university to investigate what led to last week’s appalling display and respond accordingly to ensure it never happens again.”

SFSU staff did not respond to multiple attempts to ask for a comment on the incident and/or the FIRE letter.

“It is alarming that this level of mob censorship and pugnacity occurred on a campus bound to
respect students’ constitutional right to free expression, and despite the presence of public
university administrators, campus security, and (eventually) police,” reads FIRE’s missive.  “To protect free speech and ensure their educational communities’ safety, universities must clarify that the use
of force or mob rule to silence speech is not an exercise in free speech—it is censorship.”

Prior to the physical ambush, Gaines was able – despite the distraction of the noise of the protesters outside the room – to deliver her speech for the most part uninterrupted.  It was at the end – when she attempted to leave – that the evening turned violent.

The ever growing trend of college students threatening, shouting down, attacking and demonizing those with other ideas is a disturbing upside-downing of what education is supposed to be about, said FIRE senior program officer Zachary Greenberg.

“There is an increasing willingness to disrupt speakers students don’t agree with,” said Greenberg.  “And that is the exact opposite of what an education is meant to do, to challenge world views and encourage open minds and debate.  Too many students see people they disagree with as evil.”

For her part, Gaines – who is planning legal action against the university –  has said she was not pleased that SFSU clearly appeared to take the side of the mob in their post-incident statements such as those of school vice-president Jamillah Moore who said,  “I am also proud of the moments when our students demonstrated the value of free speech and the right to protest peacefully.”

Pointing to the video of her being attacked, Gaines noted that she and Moore must have very “different definitions of peaceful” as she was “extorted and held for ransom. The protestors demanded I pay them if I wanted to make it home safely.”

Exactly how – and if – SFSU will respond to both the investigation demand and the potential legal issues is not clear.

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7 thoughts on “First Amendment Group Lambasts SFSU Over Campus Mob Ambush of Riley Gaines

  1. Appreciate the update about this incident, Thomas Buckley. There MUST be an earnest investigation, arrests, and charges from it. Several crimes were committed, for which there must be consequences, or incidents at future events will only escalate. Apparently that’s what the mob wants, but we cannot permit it. This mob incident was completely outrageous and unacceptable. We do have laws about these matters. They must be enforced.

  2. Remember when leftists were always railing about “free speech”? Yup, that was just to gain power and commit treason and espionage. Now that they think they have the upper hand free speech is out the window along with all the rest of our God given rights. God will not look kindly on their evil.

  3. What is the CA GOP doing about this? I only hear from them when a development MIGHT go up in Woodside. Maybe more people would vote for them if they just stopped hanging out at the country club with the Democrats.

  4. San Francisco State University President Lynn Mahoney sent out a delusional tweet in which she blamed Riley Gaines for creating the violence that was perpetrated against her! How did the president describe the horrible scary incident? “A disturbance” that “delayed the speaker’s departure.” Mahoney said the event was deeply traumatizing for the trans and LGBTQ+ community and falsely claimed that the First Amendment was honored. A speaker was assaulted and chased down a hallway on your campus by a screaming mob of students and trapped in a room for hours, with the students discussing if they should demand money to let her go. That’s not honoring the First Amendment! Mahoney is demented and demonic?

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