WATCH: 'When they want you silent, speak louder': Riley Gaines attacked at SF State
A mob of pro-trans protesters swarmed a Riley Gaines event hosted by Turning Point USA at San Francisco State University on Thursday evening, during which she was hit by a biologically male transgender protester.
Student organizers of the event told Campus Reform that security was inadequate until the San Francisco Police Department was contacted by the university.
Riley Gaines was attacked by a mob of pro-trans protesters on Thursday night during a “Save Women’s Sports” event at San Francisco State University (SFSU), which was exacerbated by a lack of safety planning by the University. During the incident, Gaines was allegedly hit by a biologically male transgender protester.
Campus Reform obtained video footage of the protests. Watch here.
Gaines was hosted by the California public university’s Turning Point USA (TPUSA) chapter, and the event was funded by the Leadership Institute, the parent organization of Campus Reform.
One of the members of TPUSA, Navid Mehdipour, told Campus Reform, that the SFSU campus police did not have a plan in place to protect Gaines and the attendees of the event.
Mehdipour, a SFSU student organizer of the event, told Campus Reform that the club had received threats of violence, including the use of bricks and baseball bats, directed towards Gaines and themselves for nearly a month since the announcement of the event.
The event was “mostly peaceful,” Mehdipour said, until the end of the event when the mob of protesters from outside the building stormed into the venue.
Footage from the student news organization Golden Gate Xpress shows Gaines being escorted out of the event space into the greenroom by security at 8:31 PM local time as the protesters chanted “Trans women are women.” One protester is captured on film screaming “F*** you! Trans rights are human rights!”
Riley Gaines has been escorted out of the event into a side hallway in the HSS Building. Students were following through “trans women are women” 8:31 p.m pic.twitter.com/rGaTvrje17
— Golden Gate Xpress (@GGXnews) April 7, 2023
TPUSA members were also escorted by security away from the scene half an hour later.
Gaines was trapped inside the green room space for nearly three hours, according to the New York Post.
Late on Thursday night, Gaines tweeted, “The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU ... I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man. This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces.”
Gaines is referring to a trans-woman (biological man), whose identity has not yet been made known.
The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU...I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man. This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces.
Still only further assures me I’m doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder. 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/uJW3x9RERf
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) April 7, 2023
Mehdipour says that SFSU campus police did not have a safe exit plan for Gaines, which forced her to be sequestered in the green room until the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) arrived on the scene.
Coverage from the Golden Gate Xpress shows SFPD officers on the scene by 8:47 PM local time, preventing the protesters from entering the green room.
The Assistant Dean of Students, Chris Trudell, addressed the crowd at approximately 9:50 PM, saying, “I want to offer that this conversation that we’re having as a community, as a campus can continue.”
— Golden Gate Xpress (@GGXnews) April 7, 2023
In response, one student in the crowd demanded that Gaines pay the protesters to be able to leave. “She probably got paid for this s***, so we can get paid too,” said the protester.
At 11:21 PM, SFPD declared the protest an unlawful assembly, saying that any protesters who remained would arrested. Gaines was escorted off the premises by SFPD at 11:38 PM.
Foundation for Individual Rights in EducationProgram Officer Amanda Nordstrom characterized the event as “mob censorship” and told Campus Reform that it is “never an appropriate reaction to speech, adding that ”the First Amendment does not protect silencing speakers via disruption.”
“Public universities have a non-negotiable duty to ensure protected speech can occur on campus — without violence or intimidation,” Nordstrom added. “When campus speaking events become battlegrounds, all students suffer because they are deprived of opportunities to hear other perspectives and engage with ideas civilly. FIRE urges SFSU to examine its failures last night and ensure a plan is in place to protect free speech for everyone, no matter their views.”
Jon Root, national-level TPUSA contributor, told Campus Reform, “Riley Gaines (Barker) is one of the most courageous women in the country. From the moment she stood tall on the same podium with a biological man, Lia Thomas at the NCAA swimming championships, she’s been a warrior for women’s sports, fairness and equality. Truth is hate to those that hate the truth.”
In Gaines’ Twitter announcement of the incident, she stated that the ordeal “only further assures me I’m doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder.”
Gaines and SFSU have been contacted for comment. This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.
This article includes supplemental reporting from Campus Reform Correspondent Logan Dubil.
Follow Gabrielle M. Etzel on Twitter.