Black Texas college student has police called on her by professor, prompting investigation

Officials at the University of Texas at San Antonio said they are conducting separate investigations into “possible discrimination” and “academic management of the classroom.”


A black student at the University of Texas at San Antonio had police called on her by a white professor after she had put her feet up on one of the classroom chairs, students and school officials said.

The educator, identified by the university in a statement as biology professor Anita Moss, led university police to the student Monday during her Anatomy & Physiology 1 class and watched as the student was escorted out.The event prompted two investigations which concluded Wednesday night and found that “racial bias” was not a factor in the incident.

Apurva Rawal, a student in the class, told NBC News he didn’t feel the student was being disruptive and decided to share a video of the event 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,” said Rawal in the now-viral tweet.

The video shows Moss talking to university police before leading them to another side of the classroom where the young woman, whose identity wasn't released, is seated and asked to go with the officers. The room is silent as her classmates watch the student leave and the professor head toward the front of the auditorium.

Students who were there in the classroom said the professor had confronted the girl on Monday based on an incident she had with her on Friday, when she asked young woman to put her feet down during a lecture. The girl, according to a joint statement issued by the students on Twitter, "complied" but allegedly forced the professor to end the lecture early saying the class was "disrespectful of her."

Yasmine Lane, one of the students who was there, confirmed the account and told NBC News that the professor had come in Monday with student conduct guidelines in hand seeking to talk to the student.

"We personally didn't understand the magnitude of getting her exported," Lane said, adding that she could overhear the teacher talking to the student about what had happened on Friday before the teacher pulled out her phone to call the cops.

Rawal said he felt something needed to be done about the student’s ousting after witnessing the whole exchange.

“I was inspired to share this video because I believe an abuse of power of this magnitude deserved to have a spotlight shined on it in order for justice to be served,” Rawal said.

But Lane, who knows the student and is also black, said that even though the circumstances were “unwarranted,” she doesn’t believe the incident had to do with race.

“She’s been very irritable lately —more toward the semester,” Lane said. "She’s just been very stressed and that's what led for her decision to have her escorted by cops."

The university's president, Taylor Eighmy, issued a statement to students Monday saying the school is looking at the incident though an investigation into “possible discrimination” and “academic management of the classroom.”

By Tuesday, Eighmy said that those conducting the investigation had met with the escorted student and with Moss and will allow another professor to teach the class for the rest of the semester.

“No matter the outcome of the investigations, the incident shows issues that extend far beyond the events of yesterday,” Eighmy wrote.

“The reactions expressed through social media, emails, phone calls and group meetings I’ve attended confirm that feelings of marginalization on the part of some students—especially our African American students—are real and profound.”

UTSA had wrapped up its investigations by Wednesday night and revealed that the teacher was only found liable for classroom mismanagement and displaying “poor judgment.”

According to the report’s summary, it was decided that racial bias was not a factor “based primarily on the opinion of the student” who chose not to file a formal discrimination complaint.

Classes for the Anatomy & Physiology 1 students are set to resume without Moss on Friday, according to the university. Moss, however, will be allowed to return to the school for the Spring 2019 semester after taking classroom management training, according to Eighmy's Wednesday memo to community members.

Moss did not immediately respond to requests for comment.