University of Texas at San Antonio President Taylor Eighmy announced
Wednesday that the school had concluded its investigation into a controversial removal of a student from a classroom that occurred earlier this week.
Officials determined instructor Anita Moss' decision to call campus police to escort a black female student out of her classroom for putting her feet on the seat in front of her was not racially-biased
, Eighmy announced. Moss will remain on leave for the rest of the semester but will return in the spring.
On Monday, UTSA student Apurva Rawal uploaded a video to Twitter showing Moss talking to campus police before leading them across the lecture hall to the student propping up her feet. Before the student was escorted out, Rawal tweeted that Moss called the class "uncivil" for being on their phones and not paying attention.
The incident and its subsequent social media attention inspired two separate investigations, one by the Equal Opportunity Services and separate a classroom management inquiry. For the EOS investigation, Moss and the student were interviewed and their social media posts and emails examined. Officials decided Moss' actions were not racially-biased, and the student agreed with that finding. She chose not to file a formal discrimination complaint.
"After hearing from so many students, faculty and staff regarding their feelings of marginalization, disrespect and feat, I am more convinced than ever that this is a top priority for UTSA," Eighmy wrote
The classroom management inquiry
included interviews with Moss and the student, plus other students. Students said the professor was adamant about being respectful (no talking, phones, or feet on chairs), but focused on a small group of students. She was particularly vocal about students not resting their feet on chairs and would often demand students take down their feet. The professor's habit was disruptive and embarrassing, students complained.
said Moss had called out the student at the center of the incident the week before without any problem. Still, Moss meant to email the student on Sunday about her behavior, asking her not to show up to class until they spoke privately. However, the instructor entered the wrong email address.
Moss allegedly took the student's attendance on Monday as an act of defiance and called police as a result. (She said she called security on a suggestion from a fellow faculty member.)
The investigation also examined Moss' teaching evaluations, which were positive. The inquiry did find Moss used poor judgment on Monday, but not enough to be terminated. Before returning to the classroom next semester, Moss will take part in classroom management training.
Even so, some students are calling for Moss' dismissal. An online petition
to remove her has gathered more than 6,500 signatures.
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.