A community college professor in the Atlanta suburb of Covington, Georgia, called the campus police on two students who refused to leave the classroom when told they could not attend after being late to her class.
One classmate of the two women was outraged, taking to social media to characterize the incident as another case of police being “weaponized” against Black people.
The professor in question is Carrisa Nicole Gray, an African-American teacher in the English Department of Georgia State University Perimeter College Newton Campus, according to a TikTok content creator Bria Blake.
Blake identified the two students by their first names only, Taylor and Kamryn.
Blake detailed the incident on her TikTok page on Thursday, March 31. Since uploading the two-minute clip to her more than 134,000 followers, she has received more than 336,000 views.
Blake appeared to be in what could have been a dorm room as she offered her account what she saw happen. She said, “Two Black students had the police called on them today at Georgia State, Perimeter campus, in Newton County for being two minutes late to class. You heard me correctly, two minutes late to class, and they had the police called on them.”
“When the professor then asked them to leave, Taylor responded and said, ‘We paid to be here.’”
“The professor, Carissa Gray, then responded, ‘OK,’ and left the room,” Blake recounts. “When she returned, she returned with two armed police officers. The woman cop, whose name I do not know, proceeded to grab Taylor’s things and try to forcibly remove them from the room. They then said that if they did not leave, they would be charged with trespassing.”
According to Blake’s account, when the two students arrived at the classroom, the door had not been shut. She alleges the professor allowed them to not only enter into the room, but walk to their seats, sit down, and “take out their things to take notes.”
The social media influencer said the female campus security officer confiscated one of the students’ items. She identifies the student as “Taylor” and notes that her property was only returned to her after she consented to leave.
“She then went down to the Advisement Center to figure out who she could talk to [in order] to file a report,” Blake said. “She was directed to go to the department head. Professor Mason then told Taylor that her only two options were to either stay in an environment that she didn’t feel safe in or take an ‘F.’”
Blake accompanied Taylor and filed a complaint with the Student Life Department, where they were told other students had complained about police being called for them for minor infractions.
“Taylor also disclosed that she felt as though this action taken by Professor Carissa Gray was in retaliation to an earlier event that happened earlier on in this semester,” Blake said she was told.
Blake was not the only person speaking out against the teacher. Honesty Taszhe amplified Blake’s story on her Twitter account.
One Twitter user said, “It’s one thing to be strict as a professor. It’s an entirely different thing to be so quick to get the police involved, when you, yourself are Black and know how they can act toward Black people.”
Students are retaliating by trashing the teacher’s “Overall Quality Based” rating on the student-information site Rate My Professor. Gray received a 1.8/5 rating, with the majority of her scores tallying up after March 31.
One student, who claims to have received an A- in the class, wrote, “She’s unprofessional and clearly bigoted towards students of color. Do not ever take this woman’s class. Furthermore, complaints should be filed with the department head and board of education to have her removed from teaching.”
Another review called the teacher “awful” and wrote, “Doesn’t teach when you are 2 mins late and calls the police if you are late.”
“Even when you pay for your own education she feels she has the right to dictate if she will teach you. She does not deserve to be a professor for higher learning,” someone left in the comments.
The university says it is “looking into the situation.”
“We are looking into this matter and how it was handled by the faculty member,” a representative said in a statement. “Campus police arrived after being called by the faculty member and immediately de-escalated the situation between the students and faculty member.”
According to the school’s student code of conduct, there are policies against “disruptive behavior” in the classroom by students which afford professors the right to summon campus police if they feel an “immediate threat” to their “safety.”
However, no one has reported Gray’s or the class attendees’ safety was compromised or any assault took place. The representative for the school said tardiness to class or disrespectful behavior are not typical reasons an employee for the school would call for law enforcement.
GSU stated no crime had “been committed so there were no arrests.”
“Time and time again, we’ve seen the police being weaponized against Black people,” Blake continued in her video, asking her supporters to share on their networks, “Calling the police on two students for being two minutes late to class is extremely unreasonable and dangerous.”
“Both of the students, a woman, and a man, started crying because they were so terrified of what could happen to them,” she said before ending her video, “Stop weaponizing the police against Black people.”