Several dozen students staged a sit-in at the office of California State University Los Angeles president William A. Covino on Thursday evening, demanding that he resign for allowing Ben Shapiro to speak at the school earlier in afternoon.
The students, some of whom were sporting “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts, sat in the hallway outside Covino’s office, which was guarded by police. It is unclear whether Covino was in his office at the time.
Covino initially tried to cancel Shapiro’s appearance at CSU-LA, and said the school would schedule a panel discussion instead, which would include members with opposing views. However, after Shapiro promised to show up anyway, and defend his constitutional rights and those of the students, Covino reversed his position.
Shapiro’s talk, sponsored by Young America’s Foundation’s Fred R. Allen Lecture Series, was titled “When Diversity Becomes a Problem.”
— TheUniversityTimes (@CalStateLAUT) February 25, 2016
Earlier in the afternoon, violence erupted as members of the school’s Black Student Union attempted to block attendees from entering Shapiro’s talk. Police escorts were able to smuggle about two dozen students in through a backdoor entrance. However, those barred by protesters were forced to watch his speech online.
BSU president Sesily Lewis told KNBC News that Shapiro’s “views incite hate speech and violence. And we are against hate speech because it’s our campus and we are supposed to feel comfortable and like we are in a safe space. And we did not feel that way and our administration ignored that and still allowed this guy to to come.”
Similarly, the CSU-LA Black Student Union had posted on Facebook on Feb. 19: “I don’t feel safe at Cal State La.”
Similar sit-ins have taken place across college campuses in the United States, with members of the Black Lives Matter movement occupying administrators’ and attempting to force them to step down over perceived racial inequities.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.