Indiana college professor calls police on student who wouldn’t change seats


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (CNN/WISH) — A Ball State University professor is apologizing after calling campus police on a student who refused to switch seats with someone during class. A video of the confrontation went viral on social media. The student claims the professor was being racist.

The video, now viewed more than 100,000 times on Twitter, shows campus police interrupting a Tuesday morning marketing class at Ball State University.

“I was scared I was going to get shot, I was going to get tased, get beat, arrested, I didn’t know,” said the student who was asked to move, Sultan Benson. “Honestly didn’t know.”

The senior told news 8 his professor called for backup after he declined to move from a seat in the back of the room to a newly vacated one in the front.

“Thirty minutes into class, a young lady had to leave for some reason,” said Benson. “We’re unsure of what the reasoning was. But she sits directly in the front of the classroom. About five minutes after that, the professor asked me to move to that seat. Mind you, I have my book bag and everything already undone. My laptop’s plugged in, it’s charging.”

Benson, a business major set to graduate in may, says he politely refused and explained why. He called the exchange ‘calm’ and says he was ‘caught off guard’ when it escalated within minutes.

“He gave me the two options of ‘You can move or I can call the police,'” said Benson. “‘You gonna call the police?'”

He did.

Two officers showed up, prompting a junior to start recording on his phone. He requested we hide his identity.

In the video, you can hear officers asking for witness input.

Three other students were sitting in the back and weren’t told to move.

On Wednesday, university officials issued a statement saying they’re working to understand what happened and how they can improve. They vowed to put ‘educational and preventive measures in place’ and said the faculty member involved emailed an apology to students. Benson says he isn’t apologizing for standing his ground.

In his apology email, the professor 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.”

The professor was not available to speak on camera.

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