Monday, a video of police escorting a Black female student from a lecture hall at the University of Texas at San Antonio went viral. The student’s alleged offence? Putting her feet on the seat in front of her.
The encounter was captured by Apurva Rawal, who shared it on Twitter.
“So this happened today in class, a girl had her feet up and the professor called the police after calling our class uncivil,” Rawal explained.
While he said the student was not disruptive during the lecture, Rawal said the professor called campus police because “her ego was bruised” after reprimanding the class during a previous session when a few students were on their phones.
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
After the video made the rounds on the Internet, a young woman came forward to identify herself as the student in the video.
“This is me in Anita Moss’ 2053 Bio classroom. 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,” she wrote on Twitter. “A police report is being filed atm, this is just the beginning. Thanks for your support!”
This is me in Anita Moss’ 2053 Bio classroom. 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! https://t.co/YUZGmwgFa7
— pistachio 🍂🍁 (@FavoritePaigeee) November 12, 2018
University officials are currently investigating the incident and issued a statement via social media.
“We are concerned by what the video shows and have initiated multiple investigations into the matter,” the university said Tuesday. “We recognize the importance of promptly gathering the facts and being transparent in the outcomes.”
UTSA President Taylor Eighmy also sent an email to the study body to affirm that the ordeal “concerns [him] greatly.”
“This concerns me greatly, and it’s incumbent upon us as an institution to face this head-on. It’s something that we need to address immediately as a university community,” Eighmy said.
“While the facts aren’t fully known regarding today’s incident, our Office of Equal Opportunity Services is already conducting an investigation into possible discrimination,” he said in the letter. “In addition, an inquiry regarding the academic management of the classroom is being conducted by Interim Dean of the College of Sciences Howard Grimes.”
The professor has been pulled from classes for the remainder of the week until university officials can complete their inquiry. But Eighmy affirmed that no matter what happens, he wants UTSA to be a safe space for all students.
“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,” he said.