FACT CHECK: Facebook Post Claims There Were Hostages At California State University Protest

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims hostages were taken during a recent pro-Palestine protest at California State University, Los Angeles.

Verdict: Misleading

Although some university administrators remained in the building during the protest, they had the option to leave, sources, including Reuters, indicate.

Fact Check:

President Joe Biden condemned violence outside the Adas Torah synagogue in Los Angeles, where pro-Palestine protestors clashed with counterprotestors recently, according to The Associated Press. Biden said he was “appalled” by the violence in a post shared on X, the outlet reported.

“BREAKING NEWS: Pro Hamas PROTESTERS IN CAL STATE HAVE TAKEN HOSTAGES,” the post’s caption reads in part. “They have now graduated to full blown terrorists and are holding [the] University President and other staff in [the] building hostage,” it continues. The post also features a video report about the protests from California-based outlet ABC7 News.

The claim is misleading. Although the protestors barricaded themselves inside the university’s Student Services Building, where “dozens of employees remained inside during the takeover,” it was not a hostage situation, according to CNN. In fact, one of the protestors said they “didn’t want folks inside the building,” the outlet indicated, citing its affiliate KABC.

The majority of the protestors left the building on their own, and university administrators were escorted to safety, the outlet reported.

Likewise, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to support the claim made via the Facebook post. In fact, the opposite is true. On June 25, Reuters reported the claim was misleading. University spokesperson Erik Hollins denied the protestors took hostages during the June 12 protest.

“I would not characterize the incident as such,” Hollins told Reuters via email. “Employees did shelter in place for a period. A small contingent of administration including the president chose to remain behind voluntarily to manage the situation.”

“Many did get out early. Others left on their own over time or were evacuated by university escort following a shelter-in-place order,” Hollins added.

Furthermore, a June 13 report from ABC7 News reiterated that while some university administrators remained in the building during the protest, others “were instructed to leave.” (RELATED: Did The U.S. Treasury Department Fly The Palestinian Flag?)

Check Your Fact has contacted a university spokesperson for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter