Altaif Hassan received a standing ovation at a Rowan University community meeting Friday when the senior called for an end to discrimination against minorities and described his fear when Glassboro police — with their weapons drawn — ordered him out of his car and to the ground earlier this week.

The incident has put police in the center of controversy as students and faculty say they at times fear Glassboro police, who they allege target minorities disproportionately. Hassan, of Trenton, was with freshman Giavanna Roberson of Cherry Hill when he was pulled over shortly after turning into the campus late Monday afternoon.

"I've never been pulled over by police until I got to Rowan four years ago," Hassan told more than 200 people who crowded into a room at the Chamberlain Student Center. "Eventually someone is going to die, and I don't want to see that happen."

Although Glassboro police were invited to participate in the forum, no one from the department attended. Students said that is part of the problem and questioned how they can develop a better relationship that may prevent future incidents. There are 19,500 Rowan students, and about 30 percent are minorities.

At times, the speakers were emotional as they discussed prejudices that put students at risk — especially young black men. University president Ali A. Houshmand began Friday's forum saying he was grateful that no physical harm came to the students. He acknowledged that these types of incidents are traumatic.

The university, Houshmand said, will work to ensure students feel safe, and are treated equally and with dignity.

"You have to know how important your safety is. That is No. 1," Houshmand said.

Several who spoke noted that while Glassboro police defended their actions because they were concerned they may be confronting a dangerous gunman, the officers never alerted Rowan police as they approached campus or took measures to clear the area or initiate a lockdown.

Hassan and Roberson, both African American, were stopped because police said Hassan and his car matched the description given to police investigating a shoplifting incident at the nearby Collegetown Shopping Center. One witness told police he thought he saw a gun. Officers pulled Hassan over in a parking lot by Mimosa Hall, where police drew down their weapons on the car and one passerby recorded a four-minute video that has gone viral.

Hassan, a biology major who wants to be a pediatrician, said Friday he did as he was instructed to do, fearful of police with rifles pointed at him. He dropped his keys out the window, got out of the car with his hands raised, walked backward as instructed, and then fell to his knees so officers could cuff him. He asked repeatedly why he was pulled over, but police would not acknowledge his questions as they searched his car, he said. They did not find a gun.

Only afterward, Hassan said, did an officer ask him to sign the search consent. If he refused, he was told, investigators would impound his car. Roberson, also ordered out of the car and cuffed, was asked repeatedly about whether she saw a gun. She initially answered questions, but Hassan said she eventually told them she would no longer cooperate until they released him and removed his cuffs.

Hassan said after police took the cuffs off, they told him he could go and left without apologizing.

Student Government Association president Rbrey Singleton said that before Monday's incident, he was trying to develop a better relationship with the town and police. Police did say they were willing to meet with students and university officials before the meeting, but Singleton said they have since said it would be several days before a meeting could be set up.

Some students expressed frustration, saying that while meetings such as Friday's forum are important, little is done. The problems remain because they are systemic and not unique to Rowan.

"What's stopping this from happening again?" asked Scott Roseboro, president of Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity.

"Black people are accustomed to this type of behavior," said senior Noel Irizarry, accusing police of creating chaos. He said it was time to protest outside the police station and "stand up, take action."

University assistant vice president Michael H. Kantner, who oversees campus security, said he was trying to find out why Glassboro did not communicate with Rowan before the situation was under control.