February 27, 2017
A faculty member at California State University, Fullerton has been suspended after striking a College Republicans member during a campus protest earlier this month.
The altercation occurred Feb. 8 as pro-Palestine students and counter-protesters marched peacefully through campus. Anthropology part-time lecturer Eric Canin reportedly approached the group of counter-protesters — many of them being CSUF College Republicans members — and tried to rip a sign out of a student’s hand. Canin was accused of then striking another student who tried to step between them. The group’s president, Chris Boyle, said he witnessed the hit and proceeded to restrain Canin until police arrived.
The university said in a statement that its internal investigation concluded that a faculty member did indeed strike a student and violate his free speech rights.
“The University has completed its internal investigation regarding a February 8 rally held on campus during which a lecturer was alleged to be in an altercation with a student protester from the College Republicans,” CSUF Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey D. Cook told Campus Reform.
“The investigation substantiated the charges that a physical altercation occurred, that a campus employee struck a student, and that as a consequence the speech of the student group was stopped,” he said. “The prospect of an incident like this on our campus is profoundly troubling.”
After the altercation, Canin told The Daily Titan student newspaper that he “did not touch anyone” and that the College Republicans “making fun of him” sparked the scuffle. He confirmed his suspension last week.
“I am suspended and may not talk to students or employees of the university,” he told The Daily Titan in a text message.
The CSUF College Republicans have filed battery charges against Canin. The district attorney will decide whether to charge him with a misdemeanor, but that process could take weeks because the case is not likely to be considered a priority, University Police Capt. Scot Willey told The Daily Titan.