Black college president defends student arrest because ‘previous de-escalation techniques failed’

Black college president defends student arrest because ‘previous de-escalation techniques failed’

The president of a historically black college defended the institution’s choice to contact the police in order to arrest a student who was arguing with her lecturer.

Winston-Salem State University officials defended the decision to arrest student Leilla Hamoud following an argument with her teacher. The 20-year-old could be seen screaming and crying (above) as she claimed the officers were hurting her

Elwood Robinson, the chancellor of Winston-Salem State University, addressed the viral video of Leilla Hamoud, 20, getting jailed after a dispute with professor Cynthia Villagome about her work. He stated that the school was in the right.

Robinson stated in a letter to students and faculty, “We understand that the weaponization of police is a pervasive concern in our community, but that was not the case in this event,” adding that initial “de-escalation efforts” had failed.

We try to create a community where all of our instructors, staff, and students feel valued and appreciated. To this aim, we will take prompt and appropriate action against any circumstance that conflicts with our principles.’

A representative for the school told CNN that the incident has left Villagome shocked and distraught, and that there have been multiple threats to her safety.

Officials at Winston-Salem State University defended the decision to arrest student Leilla Hamoud after an altercation with her instructor. The 20-year-old was spotted shouting and crying (above) as she alleged that the police officers were hurting her.

After early “de-escalation measures” failed, university chancellor Elwood Robinson (pictured) stated that officers were enforcing school regulations.University Chancellor Elwood Robinson (pictured) said officers were following the school's policy after initial 'de-escalation efforts' had failed

In the now-viral footage of the event, Professor Cynthia Villagomez could be heard apologizing to the students and stating that she attempted to de-escalate the situation. University officials report that the professor has subsequently received multiple threats.

In the footage of her detention, Hamoud can be heard crying and protesting that the police were harming her as they force her arms behind her back over what she claims was a dispute regarding her final paper.

Hamoud asserted that Villagomez became upset with her in class and demanded that she either apologize or leave for failing to resubmit the essay as ordered.

In the now viral video of the incident, the professor, Cynthia Villagomez, could be heard saying she tried to de-escalate the situation as she apologized to the students. University officials said the professor has since had several threats made against her

Hamoud claimed she rejected the ultimatum and gave her presentation in class because she had spent two weeks working on the homework before being supposedly given only six hours to redo it.

Hamoud was heard yelling “I hate you, I hate you” while she was being arrested. I swore to God that I detest you.

“You are the worst instructor in history. You get me dragged out in handcuffs because I won’t apologize? Because I will not apologize, you began to yell at me. You attempted to humiliate me regarding my paper.

It is unknown what transpired before to the arrest or which professor phoned the police, but according to school officials, the dispute escalated into a “major disturbance” that necessitated the arrival of policemen.

Robinson stated, “In accordance with law enforcement regulations, our officer’s top goal is to evaluate the issue and offer every option for a good settlement.” As things worsen, it is their obligation to guarantee the safety of the present students, instructors, and staff.

Some students, however, were dissatisfied with the statement, claiming that the scenario never warranted police involvement.

Classmate Taji told WXII’s Louie Tran, “The statement they released seemed like a slap in the face not only to me because I observed it, but also to Leilla because she physically endured what she did.”

She said that Leilla never approached the teacher during the heated confrontation, instead choosing to remain in the back of the classroom.

Hamoud was handcuffed when Villagomez’s coworker decided to call the police, as depicted in a video that became popular on the Internet.

The kid was escorted out of the classroom by campus police and charged with a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Taji told me that she was in the classroom yesterday and witnessed the occurrence. She shared her opinions on WSSU’s remark with me. She also revealed the events leading up to the arrest of the 20-year-old student.

Tonight at 11 pm, WXII will air my whole report. pic.twitter.com/qzio2SqpzI

— Louie Tran (@louie tran) December 15, 2022

Hamoud explained in an Instagram Live video what transpired when she refused to revise her essay or leave the classroom after the viral incident.

Hamoud reported, “So, bang, she starts yelling at me, telling me this is her class and it doesn’t matter what I believe.” ‘ I’m not going to lie to you, but I began to respond by raising my voice as well.

“I’m like, ‘Dr. V, I’m not redoing it; I’m here to present with my group; I’m here to get this done and leave.'”

But, according to Hamoud, Villagomez continued to demand her departure until the professor finally rushed out of the classroom to talk with a colleague.

Soon, Hamoud reported, campus police arrived, with a black officer entering the scene and inquiring what had occurred.

“As I recount my tale, the professor returns and says, ‘Yes, officer, I want her removed.'”

She claims that at that point, another white cop entered and said, “You’re going to have to go or I’ll have to take you out.”

“At this time, I’m thinking to myself, Dr. V, are you going to let them arrest me? And she’s attempting to sort herself out,’ she said of the professor’s apology. ‘ She advised either apologizing or leaving.

‘I said ‘Apologize?’ The old me would have apologized, but I knew I was in the right. So I said, “Please apologize since you yelled at me and used the F-word.”

She then disclosed that she was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor but was released since she had no prior misdemeanor convictions.

As many of you are aware, an incident involving a student and a faculty member erupted on social media this morning. We now have more information about the event and would like to share it with the school community.

Regarding the occurrence, the institution has a protocol that must be followed if a disturbance is reported on campus. After attempting to de-escalate the situation, a nearby WSSU employee contacted law enforcement after receiving information of a big disturbance in Carolina Hall this morning.

Our officer’s first goal, in accordance with law enforcement regulations, is to analyze the issue and provide every possibility for a constructive conclusion. As situations worsen, it is their obligation to protect the safety of all present students, instructors, and staff.

We recognize that the arming of police officers is a frequent issue in our community, but that was not the case in this event. All of our instructors, staff, and students should feel valued and supported in a community that is safe, welcoming, vibrant, and intellectual. To this aim, we will take prompt and appropriate action against any circumstance that conflicts with these values.

We are aware that this situation has caused a great deal of distress to those affected and to the campus community as a whole, but rest assured that every possible resource is being utilized to bring about a resolution.

Several university departments, including the Office of the Chancellor, the Dean of Students, the Dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, Business, and Education, and Police and Public Safety, have been coordinated in reaction to today’s incident.

Our staff is tirelessly trying to ensure that all materials are accessible, all procedures are adhered to, and all complaints are addressed. While we would prefer to publish all available information, privacy laws (FERPA, employment records) and the need to preserve the integrity of the process prevent us from doing so.

We are aware that you require rapid responses; yet, our processes are slower than social media. We are ultimately devoted to ensuring due diligence and equity. We do ask for your patience, as we must take the time necessary to assure everyone’s safety.

Those of you who have contacted out to express your support and concern for the university are highly appreciated. Please know that we have heard you and value all opinions.

As with any occurrence on campus, there are available personal support resources.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elwood L. Robinson

 

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