Professor Calls The Police On Black Student After He Refused To Switch Seats During Lecture

Professor Calls The Police On Black Student After He Refused To Switch Seats During Lecture

Shaheen Borna, the marketing professor at Ball State University in Indiana, has now been suspended until the end of the semester.

Image Source: Shaheen Borna/Ball State University

African-Americans have been subject to some of the most bizarre racial transgressions in the US for the last few centuries. While most of them weren't documented, the rapid adaption of social media in recent years has enabled the community to document and offer proof of the society's inherent biases against them. We've seen some of the silliest reasons for which police were called upon them and one such incident has come to light, yet again. An incident occurred on January 22 at Ball State University, Indiana, where Marketing professor Shaheen Borna called the campus police on one of his students, Sultan Benson. The reason? He refused to move to a seat at the back of the class. However, the professor has been punished for his actions and has now been suspended from teaching at the university for the rest of the semester.


Like every Tuesday, Benson made his way into his Marketing 310 class and as his usual seat was taken, the professor suggested he take a seat somewhere else. Benson obliged. Halfway through the class, a student walked out and the professor then asked Benson to move to the newly vacant seat which was further back from where he was seated. Having already settled, with his laptop out and charging, the student refused. The situation escalated soon after and the professor called the cops.


"Either move your seat or I call the police," Borna told Benson. "Are you really about to call the police?" Benson recalls asking Borna, reports CNN. Two campus police officers responded to the call and questioned Benson if he was disrupting the class. But, a few students came to his defense claiming Benson hadn't done anything wrong. A video depicting the incident went viral and the professor received intense criticism for his actions with certain quarters of Twitter questioning his reasoning for involving the police for such a minor issue.


Speaking to CNN after the incident, Benson said: "I woke up in a panic (that night)." When asked if he intends to return to Borna's Marketing class, Benson said he doesn't intend to and said: "I'm automatically going to be scared and on guard. That shows me that you don't care about my life." The school released a statement soon after the incident, which read: "Anytime something like this occurs on our campus, the University works to understand what happened and how we can improve based on what we learn. This includes talking with those who were involved and putting into place those measures that will prevent future situations."


Over 100 faculty members wrote to the school's newspaper, The Daily News condemning Borna's actions. The letter read: "Our first concern is Borna’s rapid escalation of the situation and involvement of the police to resolve a disagreement about seating. No disruption or physical threat existed. The use of police to get one’s way in the classroom is institutional violence. We support our students of color as they deal with the trauma of these events and navigate its fallout.”


Professor Borna offered his apologies too saying he "mishandled" the situation. In an apology email to his class, Borna wrote: "As a professor at Ball State University, it is my responsibility to ensure that you and all of my students receive an excellent educational experience. I am sorry that my actions today did not contribute to that."


A month after this ordeal, the university has provided an update on the situation and has revealed that Professor Borna won't be returning to teach for the remainder of the semester. In a statement to CNN, Kathy Wolf, the university's vice president of marketing and communication, said the decision was made "to ensure that we provide continuity in the curriculum, eliminate any unnecessary distractions, and help our students complete the appropriate course expectations." Speaking after the professor's suspension, Benson was quoted as saying by Time: “I want justice, and a temporary leave for all of the policies he broke is still just the bare minimum,” he said. “But at least it’s a step forward in the right direction.” 

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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