‘Sometimes people get assaulted’: San Francisco State students respond to alleged Riley Gaines assault

April 25, 2023

By Accuracy in Media Staff

After former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines – who notably competed against transgender swimmer Lia Thomas – was allegedly assaulted during an appearance at San Francisco State University, Accuracy in Media President Adam Guillette headed to campus to find out how students are feeling about the incident. 

“We have leaders, of course, like Martin Luther King, that were fantastic at carrying out movements,” a student told Guillette. “And we also have people like Malcolm X.”

 “So, it’s like a mixture of things. And sometimes people get assaulted – ‘allegedly assaulted,’” he said. 

The same student said, “I wanna see that b**** cry too. I don’t give a f***,” referring to Gaines.

Gaines traveled to the school earlier this month, where she gave a speech about protecting women’s sports. 

Some students didn’t take kindly to her visit, however. The former athlete was barricaded in a room following her remarks for a reported three hours. She was also allegedly “hit multiple times by a guy in a dress,” according to her husband, Louis Barker. 

Guillette set out to ask SFSU students whether this incident was acceptable. 

One student told him that it was “good that she got assaulted.”

According to that student, “If violence is the only option that is given to a marginalized group of people, then I don’t see what’s wrong with it.”

“She knew that there was going to be an adversarial attitude here, right?” a male student told Guillette. “It’s San Francisco State. She came here for a fight. She got a fight.”

He further said he doesn’t believe Gaines that she was assaulted. “A man in a dress – I mean, it’s kind of, a little bit convenient, wouldn’t you say?” he continued. 

An older man on SFSU’s campus told Guillette that “Riley Gaines was part of an organization, part of a larger movement, that is calling for the eradication of transgender people,” seemingly attempting to justify the action taken against her. 

“Like yeah, no one should get assaulted,” one female student began. “But, you knew the area you were coming to. You knew what you were doing. You knew why you were doing it.”

Despite the majority of students seeming to be willing to justify violence in Gaines’s case, a few were willing to call it out. 

According to one male student, the hostility to Gaines and alleged assault were “ridiculous.”

“I think it made my – cemented my decision on leaving the university,” he added. 

“In San Francisco for this to happen that’s kind of embarrassing for our school especially,” added another male student. 

A female student went so far as to call Gaines’ alleged attacker “a piece of s***,” saying of the incident, “Oh, f*** that.” 

While Guillette asked whether violence against Gaines was acceptable, he was accused of being “transphobic” by several students who refused to answer his questions. 

Following the event, at which Gaines had to be protected by police officers, Jamillah Moore, vice president for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management at SFSU sent an email to students saying she was “proud of the moments when our students demonstrated the value of free speech and the right to protest peacefully.” 

After Gaines called Moore out on social media, she revealed that the SFSU faculty member blocked her. 

This kind of violence and hostility to speech is unacceptable. While it is disheartening to see students be supportive of violence as a means to suppress speech they don’t like – it’s downright concerning to see a school official offer the perpetrators positive reinforcement. 

SFSU claims to “support and promote freedom of expression.” It also advertises that “anyone is allowed to come on campus and share their opinions.”

This clearly isn’t the case. 

Tell SFSU to stand up against violent bullies and protect women on their campus here


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