Cal State L.A. broke its silence Monday afternoon on the removal of one of its professors, Melina Abdullah — an organizer for Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles — being forcibly removed from a mayoral debate on the university’s campus, saying that Abdullah was not on the guest list and “ignored requests to leave.”

Sunday’s debate, which aired on ABC7, was hosted by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs and the League of Women Voters of Greater Los Angeles. Abdullah, a current professor at the university and the former chair of its Department of Pan-African Studies, was forcibly removed from the debate before it began.

Video of Abdullah being carried out by campus police was shared widely on social media.

“Professor Melina Abdullah and her companion were not on the guest list or media list for the event. They bypassed all on-site check-ins and entered the theatre. An event organizer informed the pair twice that they could not remain. The two did not leave. When public safety officers asked them to leave, Professor Abdullah’s companion complied. When Professor Abdullah ignored requests to leave, she was removed from the building by public safety officers and immediately released,” said the university, which initially declined to comment, saying it would wait until it conducted a full review.

“Professor Abdullah’s race and group affiliation were not factors in this incident. Others who were not on the media or guest lists were not allowed into the theatre,” it added.

Abdullah took to social media after the incident with her perspective on the incident, saying: “Today I attempted to watch the mayoral debate held on the campus where I’ve taught for 20 years. As I waited for it to start, the white (Pat Brown Institute) director called the police on me. He and each of the candidates watched as I was brutally removed.”

Abdullah also said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times:

“I’m processing that as I was yelling for help, that I was being hurt and called for (Rep.) Karen Bass and (Councilman) Kevin De León … two people who have been very close for more than 20 years, they said nothing, not even a simple, `Please put her down,’ nor did any other candidate. It’s both hurtful and outrageous.”

Both Bass and de León — mayoral candidates who participated in the debates — said in statements to City News Service that they could not see who was being carried out of the event.

“With the stage lights blasting full force, it was impossible to see who was in the audience. And given the ongoing interruptions at debates and other events, it seemed like more of the same from the usual suspects,” de León said.

“To learn later that it was my friend and former professor was deeply upsetting,” he added.

Bass said in a statement that she “couldn’t see” and “had no idea who was being removed.”

Previous debates and forums with the mayoral candidates have been disrupted by protesters, including a televised one at Loyola Marymount University in February.

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