Leilla Hamoud Winston Salem student arrested after argument with teacher to rewrite essay. Cynthia Villagomez is criticized for calling police on black student.
Leilla Hamoud, 20, is shown being dragged out of the classroom at Winston-Salem State University following an argument with her lecturer Cynthia Villagomez.
During footage, Hamoud is seen sobbing and complaining that cops were hurting her as they forced her arms behind her back over what she says was a dispute about her final paper.
The woman is now facing misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges and is due back in court on January 25, according to WXII reporter Louie Tran.
The video led to many on social media questioning whether it was actually necessary for staff at the black college to call for law enforcement, with some claiming it was racially motivated.
A professor at Winston Salem State university had a student arrested for not apologizing for raising her voice in retaliation of the professor raising her voice first 🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️ pic.twitter.com/bQBaZ7y37e
— Ichigo Niggasake (@SomaKazima) December 14, 2022
‘You’re the worse teacher ever!’
The viral TikTok begins with two officers — one of whom is white, while the other is black — forcing Hamoud onto a desk while they handcuff her behind her back.
The crying 20-year-old could be heard telling police, ‘You’re hurting me real bad’ as her professor denies she called the local police force on the student.
‘I was trying to de-escalate,’ Villagomez, the co-chair of the school’s political science, history and social justice department.
But Hamoud tells the professor: ‘I hate you. I swear to God I hate you, I swear to God I hate you, you’re the worst teacher ever.
‘You get me taken out in handcuffs because I won’t apologize?’ ‘You started yelling at me, you tried to embarrass me about my paper. You’re a terrible teacher.
‘She’s sitting here and saying she love black people and stuff,’ Hamoud continues through tears. ‘You yelled at me first.’
The class tries to stand up for Hamoud as she is taken out of the classroom.
‘I was trying to apologize’
Still, Villagomez could be heard saying: ‘I was trying to apologize.’
It remains unclear what led up to the arrest, but university spokeswoman Haley Gingles insisted the arrest was a last resort, and came at least 10 minutes after the dispute began.
‘From the time the initial disturbance started until the and when the video clip started, it was a significant amount of time,’ she told NBC News. ‘Certainly, it was more than 10 minutes.’
She also said Villagomez was not the person who called 911 on Hamoud, claiming it actually came from another professor nearby who heard the argument.
University Chancellor Elwood Robinson also said in a statement that the ‘significant commotion’ prompted another ‘WSSU employee nearby’ to call campus police to ‘de-escalate the situation.
‘We strive for a safe, inclusive, thriving and intellectual community where all our faculty, staff and students feel respected and supported.
View this post on Instagram
‘I’m not going to re-write my essay’
‘To that end, we will take swift and appropriate measures against any situation that contradicts those ideals.’
In an Instagram Live video (see directly above) following the viral incident, Hamoud decided to share her side of the story.
She said she and her classmates were part of a group project that included a live presentation set for Wednesday, but just hours before the group was set to present Villagomez emailed her telling her to redo the written portion of the assignment.
Hamoud said she felt that she did not have enough time to rewrite the essay before they were set to present, but attended class on Wednesday anyway.
‘I’m not going back and redoing this essay that took me two weeks and you told me six hours before,’ she said in the video. ‘And I still came to the final to present with my group because that was what we were supposed to do.’
After the class was briefly interrupted by a fire alarm, Hamoud said Villagomez started to get angry, saying she could either apologize for not redoing the essay or leave the classroom.
In response, Hamoud said, she said she decided to stay in the classroom and continue with the presentation, which she said made up a large percentage of her grade.
‘So, boom, she starts yelling at me telling me this is her class [and] it doesn’t matter what I think,’ Hamoud recounted. ‘I started getting loud back, I’m not going to lie to you guys, I was raising my voice too.
‘I’m like ‘Dr. V, I’m not going to redo it, I’m here to present with my group, like I’m here to get this done and get out.’
I talked with Taji, who says she was inside the classroom yesterday and saw the incident. She shared her thoughts with me on WSSU’s statement. She also described to me the events that led up to the 20-year-old student’s arrest.
I’ll have the full report tonight on WXII at 11 pm. pic.twitter.com/qzio2SqpzI
— Louie Tran (@louie_tran) December 15, 2022
Calling police during dispute
But, Hamoud said, Villagomez continued to demand she leave before the professor ultimately stormed out of the classroom herself to speak with one of her colleagues.
Soon, Hamoud said, campus police arrive on the scene, with a black officer entering and asking what had happened.
‘As I’m telling my story, the professor comes back in and says, ‘Yes officer, I want her taken out.’
At that point, she says, another white officer came in and said ‘You’re going to have to get out or I’m going to have to take you out.’
‘At this point, I’m like Dr. V you’re going to lt them arrest me? And she’s trying to like fix herself,’ she said of the professor apologizing. ‘She said either apologize or get out.
‘I said ‘Apologize?’ Now, the old me, I would have apologized but I knew I was not wrong. So I said ‘Apologize because you yelled at me, and you dropped the F bomb.”
She then revealed she was charged with a second-degree misdemeanor only to be released from custody as she did not have any prior misdemeanors.
Many online are wondering whether police were really necessary, saying it is another example of police being called on black people for non-threatening activity.
‘In any classroom power struggle or dispute, there is not a single scenario in which a law enforcement officer should be called into a classroom,’ said Erika Strauss Chavarria, organizer of Black Lives Matter at Schools.
Idk enough info to make a sound decision regarding the video that is circulating about the student at WSSU but what I can say is that Dr. Cynthia Villagomez has a long track record of unsatisfied students that have been under her via academic advising or classroom setting.
— Valid Victorian (@RishaVon_828) December 14, 2022
Other pointed out the incident happened at a historically black college, where black students are supposed to feel safe.
‘Using the police as a weapon at a HBCU is wild,’ one commented.
Chavarria added: ‘The fact that this professor, who taches at an HBCU and still doesn’t have the historical knowledge or background or common sense to not call a police officer on a student is beyond me.’
School officials have since said they ‘understand that the weaponization of police is a prevalent problem in our community; however, that is not what happened in this incident.’
And spokeswoman Gingles noted that Villagomez is now receiving threats online.
‘She’s struggling with the incident that happened yesterday,’ she said. ‘Over the course of the day, she has received threats and people have been vicious to her online.’