Arrest of Student in Class Roils Winston-Salem State

A student was arrested in a class at Winston-Salem State University after a conflict with a faculty member.

The arrest, which was videotaped and shared on social media, has prompted much criticism of the university.

The Winston-Salem Journal said Chancellor Elwood Robinson issued a statement in which he said he understands the situation “has caused a great deal of trauma to those involved and our campus community at large.” He added that he knows that the “weaponization of police is a prevalent problem in our community,” but added “that is not what happened in this incident.”

Leilla Hamoud, a student at Winston-Salem State, was arrested by campus police around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

On a deleted video on Instagram, the Journal said Hamoud and her professor, Cynthia Villagomez, got into an argument over an essay she had written for a group assignment, and that Villagomez yelled at her. Hamoud said she yelled back at Villagomez. Haley Gingles, chief marketing officer for Winston-Salem State, said that another faculty member called campus police. Villagomez did not call campus police, Gingles said.

Hamoud said Villagomez gave Hamoud a choice—either apologize to her or leave the classroom. Hamoud said she refused and was soon arrested.

At the start of the video of the arrest, Hamoud is on top of a desk while two campus police officers attempt to arrest her. She says, “You’re hurting me really badly, bro!” Another student says, “Why are y’all standing there letting this happen?”

In the video that is still available, Hamoud said, “You’re the worst teacher ever … You’re getting me taken out of here in handcuffs because I won’t apologize? Because I won’t apologize? You started yelling at me. You asked me about my paper. You’re a terrible teacher.”

Villagomez did not return calls to her office number.