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On Wednesday morning, news broke on the campus of Winston Salem State University when a student was arrested after verbally disputing with her teacher during class. The student is charged with disorderly conduct, according to a police report.

WXII 12 reports the incident happened at about 8:30 a.m. Simultaneously, social media caught wind of the disturbance and quickly reacted to the now-viral video.

pic.twitter.com/WTRMfks0NE

— WSSU (@WSSURAMS) December 14, 2022

The university said a staff member — who was not involved — called law enforcement to a disagreement involving a student and a professor at Carolina Hall, a school official said.

A video posted on social media shows two officers with a woman whose hands are behind her back inside a classroom. It appears the officers are putting handcuffs on the woman before escorting her out of the classroom.

I asked a spokesperson for WSSU on what led to the 20-year-old student’s arrest. pic.twitter.com/sspjvD9ylh

— Louie Tran (@louie_tran) December 15, 2022

WSSU released a full statement, saying in part:

Regarding the incident, the university has a process we must follow when there is a reported disturbance anywhere on campus. We received a report that there was a significant commotion in Carolina Hall this morning, and as such, a WSSU employee nearby called for the assistance of law enforcement after they tried to de-escalate the situation.

We know this situation has caused a great deal of trauma to those involved and our campus community at large, but please know that every available resource is being extended to bring a resolution.

Immediately following the chaotic incident, the student took to social media to discuss the traumatic experience at length.

When HBCUs are less B

Andrew Arroyo, EdD, interim assistant vice provost for academic programs and policy and associate professor of Educational Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), has served as a White professor at two different HBCUs prior to his current position at VCU.  

Being a part of an HBCU community as a White person requires “ensuring that your White privilege is checked,” Arroyo says. “Your first stance is always going to be to listen, and you’re going to spend far more time listening than talking.”

Faculty of color—particularly Black faculty—are underrepresented on most U.S. college and university campuses. In 2018, there were 832,119 full-time faculty members at all degree-granting institutions. Of those, 69% were White, 5.5% were Black, 5% were Latino or Hispanic, and 10% were Asian American.

While Black high school grads can select an HBCU to attend, like most college students, they are often powerless of whom the instructor will be. With non-Black instructors charged with edifying young Black minds, sensitivity training at the very least may have prevented a student from being handcuffed and forever scarred over an allegedly apology.

The HBCU student suggested legal action may soon follow, however, no further details have been made public at this time.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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2 Comments

  1. The article’s title seems to be misleading. After reading the article it seems like the professor actually didnt make the call to the police? Am I missing something?

  2. No, you are not missing anything. By all accounts (and I have read several articles about this) another professor called the police.
    In my opinion, based on the facts given the protocol was followed for an insolent student.
    I am a veteran black teacher and have taught as a professor in college. I support BLM, and there is way more to this than meets the eye. The professor being white at an HBCU is a huge part of this particular incident.
    It sounds like the student refused to correct work after being given a chance to beforehand, then when addressed in class about it became argumentative, then when asked to leave or apologize for her behavior refused to do so.

    From a black teacher’s perspective, and from a college professor’s perspective and, again, based on the facts given…what was supposed to happen? In my high school classroom if an argument has ensued I would have offered for her to leave on her own, and if she refused I would have called school security to come and remove her from my classroom. In a college classroom there are no security officers or principal’s office. These are grown men and women capable of making correct societal choices knowing that there are consequences.

    Sensitivity training for professor’s and teacher’s in black schools?…Yes. Absolutely and extensively upon hire. That should be a requirement dependent upon your being offered the position, and should be a huge part of the interview questioning. We do not know whether or not there has been a percieved racism coming from this teacher all along which incited this student’s mistrust and anger at her. That is something that must come out in the investigation, or court case.

    But we should not come down on this particular professor and turn this into a racism issue. There are plenty of blatant racism classroom issues and otherwise out there without making any.

    Everything is not a “black thing”. And when we make everything into a “black thing” we delegitimize the real “black things”.

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