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Officials at Winston-Salem State University are responding to a video that went viral this week, showing police arresting a 20-year-old student in the classroom following an argument with a professor.

In the clip, we see the student, identified as Leilla Hamoud, being placed in handcuffs by police. According to the video, a staff member called police during a conflict in which the professor, Dr. Cynthia Villagomez, allegedly demanded an apology for prior comments on a class assignment. Hamoud accuses Dr. Villagomez of belittling her in class and then escalating the situation and playing the victim. Several classmates corroborated Hamoud’s story in the video, saying that Dr. Villagomez initiated the conflict.

Hamoud was arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to documents from Forsyth County Magistrate’s Office.

In a statement, WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson said the following:

Dear Rams,  

As many of you know, there was an incident this morning involving a student and a faculty member that has escalated on social media. We now have more information regarding the event and want to share some key information with our campus community. 

Regarding the incident, the university has a process we must follow when there is a reported disturbance anywhere on campus. We received a report that there was a significant commotion in Carolina Hall this morning, and as such, a WSSU employee nearby called for the assistance of law enforcement after they tried to de-escalate the situation.  

In accordance with law enforcement procedures, our officer’s first priority is to assess the situation and provide every opportunity for a positive resolution. As situations escalate, their responsibility is to ensure the safety of the students, faculty, and staff members that are present. 

We understand that the weaponization of police is a prevalent problem in our community; however, that is not what happened in this incident. We strive for a safe, inclusive, thriving, and intellectual community where all our faculty, staff, and students feel respected and supported. To that end, we will take swift and appropriate measures against any situation that contradicts those ideals.  

We know this situation has caused a great deal of trauma to those involved and our campus community at large, but please know that every available resource is being extended to bring a resolution.  

We have coordinated several university departments in response to today’s incident, 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.  

Our staff is working diligently to ensure all resources are available, all processes are followed, and all grievances are addressed. While we would like to share all the details we have, under privacy laws (FERPA, personnel records) and to protect the process integrity, all information cannot be shared publicly.   

We know you want immediate answers; however, the speed of our processes does not match the speed of social media. Ultimately, we are committed to ensuring due diligence and fairness. We do ask for your patience as we must take the necessary time to ensure the safety of everyone involved.  

We greatly appreciate those of you that have reached out to express your advocacy and care for the university. Please be assured that we hear you and welcome all perspectives.   

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

Winston-Salem State University Responds to Viral Student Arrest  was originally published on