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Georgia State University (GSU) professor Carissa Gray called the police on two Black students for arriving to class late, prompting outrage from the students’ peers on TikTok.
TikTok creator and college student Bria Blake posted about the incident on Wednesday evening. In the video, which has 116,000 likes and counting, she says a couple of her classmates were two minutes late to an English class.
The punctual professor, whom Blake named as Ms. Gray, requested the duo leave due to their lateness, according to NBC News.
GSU will respond to the incident.
Georgia State University said it’s reviewing the incident, elaborating, “We are looking into this matter and how it was handled by the faculty member. Campus police arrived after being called by the faculty member and immediately de-escalated the situation between the students and faculty member,” the school said in a statement. “Clearly, no crime had been committed so there were no arrests.”
According to Blake’s retelling, one of the two students in question said that they”paid to be here” and refused to leave. Professor Gray then left the room and later returned with two armed police officers.
All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk
“Stuff like this cannot keep happening to Black youth in America,” Blake said. “Stop weaponizing the police against Black people.”
When a Black Professor calls the police on Black students over tardiness, much like the Titanic’s iceberg, there is much more beneath the surface. Whether she’s in a sunken place or deathly serious about being on time, Professor Gray saw these two Black students as out-of-line, disrespectful, or combative and knew that bringing officers to the scene would immediately exacerbate the confrontation further.
While Georgia State University’s student code of conduct does have policies against classroom “disruptive behavior,” the school policy also states that an instructor may summon campus police to remove a student whose behavior “poses an immediate threat to the safety” of themself, the instructor, or other students. Arriving to class two minutes late doesn’t constitute such a threat.
Who knew Karens came in Black?
A Georgia State University representative said that policy refers to extreme behavior that may endanger others in the classroom. Calling the campus police over tardiness or other disrespectful behavior, the representative said, is not typical of university faculty.
According to Blake, both students were “terrified of what could happen to them” when Gray called the police, not knowing how the interaction may play out. Given the historically strained relationship between Black youth and police, the fact that both students are alive to tell the story remains a traumatic yet fortunate outcome.