News & Politics

UT Prof Punished for Calling Police on Rude, Disruptive Student

Screenshot of incident, from Twitter account @ApurvaYRawal

The University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) has removed a biology professor from her own class after she called campus security on a student who was disruptive and rude throughout the semester.

On November 12, longtime professor Anita Moss was teaching a lecture hall class when she noticed that a female student put her feet up. Finding this unacceptable, Moss asked her to stop. The student vocally refused, and Moss called campus security.

While it is not uncommon for professors to call backup — when I took classes at Cleveland State University, this happened often in freshman lecture hall classes — one UTSA student caught the incident on video, charging that it was racially motivated.

“So this happened today in class,” tweeted student Apurva Rawal, alongside a video that has since racked up more than four million views. Rawal then suggested Moss call the police because the female student is black.

“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 [for] my fellow students, but any future roadrunner,” Rawal tweeted.

To be fair, the public has no way of knowing if the student was singled out due to race. Rawal conceded that student rudeness has been a constant problem for the professor: “The class before this professor went on a whole tirade about how uncivil we all were because a few students were on their phone or not paying attention.”

Debbie Sosa, another student in the class, attempted to set the record straight.

“The student was not escorted for simply having her feet up!” Sosa posted on Facebook. “She had been rude and disruptive on many occasions. The professor spoke to her about it as well and the student continued to disrespect the professor.”

“Please get your story straight before making comments!” Sosa added.

Two days later, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy published a summary of the initial investigation.

“Based primarily on the opinion of the student … racial bias was not a factor in the actions of the faculty member,” the release notes. “Because the student feels the faculty member’s actions were not based in racial bias, she has elected not to file a formal complaint of discrimination with the [Office of Equal Opportunity] regarding the incident.”

Nevertheless, UTSA still punished the professor, removing her from class for the rest of the semester despite an admittedly “very strong track record of positive student evaluations, and she had no prior incidents of classroom mismanagement.”

“Based on all this information, Dr. Grimes has concluded that the faculty member failed to manage her classroom and displayed poor judgement,” Eighmy concluded.

Despite being responsive to other PJ Media inquiries, UTSA spokesmen did not respond to the specific questions of whether Moss was placed on leave with or without pay, and whether the longtime lecturer will be able to teach in the Spring semester.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen