A professor at the University of Texas San Antonio is facing backlash after having a Black student escorted out of class by police for having her feet propped up on a chair during a lecture. University officials say they’re now investigating the incident.
On Monday, Twitter user @ApurvaYRawal posted video showing two police officers walk over to where the student was seated after biology professor Anita Moss called them to have her removed from classroom, CBS Austin reported. The unidentified student gets up and leaves without incident.
“So this happened today in class, a girl had her feet up and the professor called the police after calling our class uncivil,” Rawal tweeted.
Rawal noted that Moss had just gone on a rant about how “uncivil” her pupils were.
“The class before, the professor went on a whole tirade about how uncivil we all were because a few students were on their phone or not paying attention, cutting lecture time for the rest of us because her ego was bruised,” he continued. “As upset as I am that my professor decided to throw a temper tantrum the lecture before an exam and cancel class, I’m even more outraged that she would decide to single out and humiliate a student just to flex her authority in a destructive manner. I chose to attend this university because of it’s welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, and today’s events genuinely make me concerned for not only my fellow students.”
Twitter user @FavoritePaigeee later identified herself as the student who was booted from class. She argued that nothing warranted the police being called, though she planned on filing a police report of her own.
“This is me in Anita Moss’ 2053 Bio classroom,” she tweeted. “Upon entering class I was told I needed to leave or would be escorted out by officers, I never disobeyed the student code of conduct. Not once. A police report is being filed atm, this is just the beginning. Thanks for your support!”
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at UTSA Karen Espy said she and interim College of Sciences Dean Howard Grimes were aware of the video and are looking into the incident. University President Taylor Eighmy also addressed the incident in a statement, saying the Equal Opportunity Services office is also launching an investigation into possible racial discrimination.
“Beyond this particular incident, I am very much aware that the circumstance represents another example of the work we need to do as an institution around issues of inclusivity and supporting our students of color,” Eighmy wrote. “This concerns me greatly, and it is incumbent upon us as an institution to face this head-on. It’s something that we need to address immediately as a university community.”
The video sparked plenty of reaction from social media critics who demanded UTSA take action against the professor. Still, there were those who urged folks not to jump to conclusions.
“The fact that a professor would have a student removed from class when she clearly isn’t being a disruption to the learning environment or her (lack of) lecturing is COMPLETELY unjustified,” one woman wrote. “@UTSA y’all need to do better. This professor needs to be handled accordingly.”
“I’d like to say that Dr. Moss is and has been a great professor for my own classes,” another chimed in. “I’d never seen her react in any way that was inappropriate and I’d advise others to suspend judgement on (either) side without knowing the full story.
Watch more in the video below.
So this happened today in class, a girl had her feet up and the professor called the police after calling our class uncivil 😬 pic.twitter.com/spq0ShXiFU
— Apurva Rawal (@ApurvaYRawal) November 12, 2018