An adjunct professor at Cypress College has been put on leave after challenging a student who hailed the police as a hero in a taped Zoom class that has since gone viral.
Braden Ellis, 19, was telling his intro-level communications class that “cops are heroes, and they … have a tough job,” when his teacher interrupts him to ask, “All of them? ”
“A good majority of them,” Ellis replies. He then tries to say that there are bad actors before the professor – who has not been identified – steps in again.
“Many police officers have committed horrific crimes and got away with it, and have never been convicted of anything,” she said, adding, “and I say that as a person whose members of the family are police officers. ”
Later in the conversation, she pushes back Ellis’ claim that the police are the one we call when we get into trouble. She said she wouldn’t call the police: “I don’t trust them. My life is more in danger in their presence.
When asked who she would call if she was confronted with an armed attacker, she said, “I won’t call anyone.”
The professor’s absence will last for the duration of her assignment at the Northwestern Orange County college, according to a statement from Cypress College on Friday.
“We are reviewing the full recording of the adjunct professor and student exchange and will discuss it fully in the coming days,” school officials said in the statement.
It was the instructor’s first class at the college and she had previously indicated that she would not be returning in the fall, the statement said.
Ellis, a freshman, told the Orange County Register he was giving a presentation on the term ‘cancel culture’ before his teacher started talking about the systemic issues behind the police, including saying that it was a system of capturing escaped slaves in the South.
“That’s what I believe. It’s my opinion. It’s not popular to say, but I support our police, ”Ellis said at one point during the discussion. “We have bad people, and those who do bad things should be brought to justice. I agree with that.”
Cypress College said in its statement that it “takes great pride in fostering a learning environment for students where ideas and opinions are exchanged as a vital part of the educational journey”.
“Our community fully embraces this culture; students often defend the right of others to express themselves freely, even when opinions diverge, ”the school said. “Any effort to suppress free and respectful expression on our campus will not be tolerated.”
At the end of the recorded lesson, another student says, “I’m glad you said that, even though I didn’t agree,” adding, “I might not agree with what you said. say, but I will fight for your right to say it. ”
“Amen,” Ellis replies.
On Monday, the college declined to comment beyond the statement, according to Marc Posner, campus communications director.
Attempts to reach Ellis failed on Monday.
The National Fraternal Order of Police, a large police union, responded to the video in a scathing tweet.
“Too many American universities have become farms of indoctrination where critical thinking and ingenuity are stifled by the intolerance of simple-minded professors like these who are absolutely unwilling to accept anything other than their own. opinion as a fact, ”the tweet read.
A survey released last year by Gallup and the Knight Foundation on student attitudes towards free speech suggests that many overwhelmingly support the concept.
The survey, which was conducted in 2019, found that more than 80% of the 3,000 full-time students surveyed wanted their campus environment to be a place where they were exposed to all types of speech, even though it was ‘was offensive.
However, the survey also found that 78% of students were in favor of having ‘safe spaces’ on campus designed to be free of. threatening actions, ideas or conversations.