A marketing professor at Ball State University is facing a wave of criticism after calling the police on a student who refused to change seats in the middle of class.
When Sultan Benson walked into his Marketing 310 class, another student was sitting in his assigned seat, and his professor, Shaheen Borna, asked him to take a seat in the back of the classroom.
In the middle of the lecture, another student left the class, and Borna asked Benson to take their seat in the front row. When Benson asked why he had to pack up his stuff and change seats, Borna refused to answer. Instead, he told Benson that would call the police unless he moved.
Benson refused to change seats, and Borna called the police. Two officers showed up, trying to understand what was going on. One of the officers asked Benson if he was being disruptive, and his fellow classmates interjected and said he wasn't causing any problems.
"He hasn't said or done anything wrong," one student told the officers.
"He has not said a word," said another.
At that point, Benson decided to leave class. After a video of the incident went viral, school officials said the Borna overreacted to the situation and should not have called the police.
"This choice was a gross error of judgment, and it was simply an unwarranted overreaction," Ball State president Geoffrey Mearns said in a statement. "This unfortunate incident provides all of us with another opportunity to get better and learn how to fulfill our commitment to providing an inclusive and supportive environment for every member of our University community. To that end, I commit to you that the learning process begins with me and my colleagues."
After the incident, Borna wrote an apology to the students and said he plans to remain in the classroom.
"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," Borna wrote. "I am sorry that my actions today did not contribute to that."
Benson told school officials he did not feel comfortable remaining in the class and was transferred to another course with a different professor.