*After video circulated of a Black student getting escorted out of class, the University of Texas at San Antonio opened an investigation that has resulted in the white professor who called the police being relieved of her duties for the rest of the semester.
Biology instructor Anita Moss sparked outrage Monday after she called the police on a Black female student who had allegedly rested her feet on a chair. Moss had repeatedly asked students to take their feet off chairs in what was described as a “pet peeve” of the professor, according to a report by interim dean Howard Grimes published Wednesday, per nydailynews.com.
“So this happened today in class, a girl had her feet up and the professor called the police after calling our class uncivil,” student Apurva Rawal tweeted along with video of the incident.
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The student at the center of the controversy, with the Twitter handle @FavoritePaigeee, wrote on Monday: “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!”
According to the report, Moss was so incensed by the ongoing problem of student disobedience that she attempted to send “FavoritePaigeee” an email on Sunday telling her not to show up for class until they could discuss the situation, but the message was mistakenly sent to another student in the class, according to Grimes.
When the student showed up for class on Monday, Moss told her to leave after showing her the email.
Grimes writes in the report that the student said: “this class is very important to me and attending this class is part of my grade and I do not want to miss the lecture as we have a test coming on Wednesday.”
When Moss threatened to call the police, the student said, “do what you need to do.” She was then hauled away by three officers.
“I did not believe she was calling them [police] but, sure enough, they came a few minutes after she had stopped talking on the phone,” a student in the class told ABC News. “They escorted [her] out and once the police had left out of the classroom, a lot of students started telling [the lecturer] she had done wrong, she was being disruptive of class time and she had taken matters out of control.”
The school determined that Moss “failed to manage her classroom effectively.” She will be allowed to return to her classroom in the spring if she meets certain requirements.
COS Interim Dean Howard Grimes and I both are aware of the video that was taken in a biology classroom earlier today. Creating a classroom environment that is conducive to learning is our priority, so we too are concerned and will respond accordingly when we learn more. #utsa
— Kimberly Andrews Espy (@ProvostEspy) November 12, 2018
Meanwhile, the student at the center of the classroom incident issued the following statement:
The last couple of days have brought a whirlwind of emotions. The support I have received, especially from my classmates, has been very encouraging for me.
I have served in many leadership roles on campus through student organizations, on-campus employment, and as a UTSA mentor to local high school students in underprivileged areas. I am passionate about UTSA and its sense of community.
Throughout these investigations, I have been repeatedly asked whether I believe the incident on Monday was based on racism. My answer is no. However, the investigations confirmed that my professor has struggled with misidentifying me with other students.
My professor apologized to me today for her classroom reaction, and I apologized to her if my behavior appeared to be disruptive, unprofessional, or uncivil as a student. I am eager to move forward and put this behind me.
I have expressed interest in being a participant in discussions on how students from underrepresented groups are treated inside and outside the classroom.
I would like to thank the UTSA faculty and staff for the efficiency with which this matter was handled. To the UTSA students who provided witness accounts in the university’s investigations and to those who communicated their support: Thank you so much.
Moving forward, I would ask the public and the news media to respect my privacy so I may continue my studies without distraction.