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Student ‘smacked’ in class

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 00:09

During a class activity in a telecommunications production course, an instructor allegedly asked a student to demonstrate why space around headshots is important — by asking him to slap another student’s head.

Evan Purchell, a senior majoring in mass communications was asked to slap the student in front of him, said the activity was intended to be in jest. But the student who was slapped, Daniel Masip, a senior majoring in mass communications, said he did not see anything funny about the situation.

“What the hell are you thinking,” he told The Oracle he yelled out loud at the time to Kristin Arnold Ruyle, the instructor, who did not respond to The Oracle’s requests for comment.

Ruyle, he said, offered him the option of punching Purchell back, something Purchell said they joked about after. Masip didn’t take up the offer because he describes himself as a “civil adult” who doesn’t “conduct

(himself) with such savagery.”

Instead, after class, Masip emailed the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Eric Eisenberg, citing violations of the USF student handbook — 4.09, Disruptive Conduct and 4.12, Injurious Behavior.

In the email, he said, “Instructor Kristin Arnold Ruyle believed it was comically amusing to have a fellow student smack me in the back of my head. The ‘willing’ accomplice, Mr. Evan Purchell, forcefully slapped the crown of my head as a video production ‘exercise’ for the onlooking class.”

He said “overall handled (himself)  pleasantly despite reacting with a justifiable annoyance.”

But Purchell said he thought the complaints against Ruyle were “silly.”

“It’s a fun class,” he said. “She wasn’t actually promoting violence against anyone. We were joking about it. It was a four-hour class and this happened half an hour after it (started). If it bothered him, you would think he would have said something before three and a half hours.”

Masip said his decision to not speak up at the time was intentional.

“I held my composure and didn’t make a complaint,” he said. “I’m in class to learn, not be dramatic. I’m the bigger man. I’m not going to stoop to that level.”

Purchell said he didn’t hit Masip with much force, but Masip said the slap hurt, and the fact that his instructor condoned it hurt even more.

“I was embarrassed and ashamed,” he said. “I felt I was being picked on. It’s stupid, animalistic and barbaric.”

Purchell said he understood why Masip might have felt singled out, though he didn’t think it was intentional.

“I think he might have thought the teacher was picking on him,” he said. “Later on, we were doing actual production and he was the technical director for that run-through. He wasn’t sure what he was doing, and she yelled at him for it. But she does that to everyone, because that’s how it is in the real world. She wasn’t singling him out or being mean to him. She yelled at me harder when I did the same thing last week.”

Allison Cleveland-Roberts, assistant dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, called a meeting with both Ruyle and Masip on Wednesday afternoon.

“The College of Arts and Sciences certainly wouldn’t want any negative situation,” she said to The Oracle. “We want to hear from all sides.”

Before attending the meeting, Masip said he filed a police report with University Police (UP) just to make sure he was “protected.”

Masip said he spoke to an officer who told him what the professor did consisted of battery.

UP spokesman Lt. Chris Daniel did not know of Masip’s visit or the details of the scenario, but said he was unsure if the professor’s actions would be considered battery.

 “Definitely if that occurred, it would be a battery between the two students,” he said. “I don’t know that the professor could be criminally tied to it. I haven’t heard the specifics of the case. The hitting would be the battery.”

Masip said he did not plan to pursue charges against Ruyle.

During the joint meeting with Cleveland-Roberts, Masip said Ruyle apologized to him.

“Your apology is questionable,” he said he told her.

He did not accept her apology, he said, because he believed it was insincere. Instead, he withdrew from the course and said the Dean’s office promised he would be fully reimbursed.

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Wed Nov 21 2012 15:51
Daniel didn't enjoy his first 15 minutes of fame, so he still had to ride out his connections at The Oracle.

Mon Nov 19 2012 20:45
One phrase to all the illogical and heartless commentators on this tread: The Golden Rule. Then again, what is to be expected from individuals who cannot see the forest from the trees?
Wed Oct 24 2012 15:51
Some people have no common sense. They need to stop coddling this Daniel Masip kid and tell him he needs to grow up and get over it. There are plenty of these kinds of people in the world and they're what's wrong with society. They are the ones that demand the world give something to them. Oh, and charging someone with battery? Come on! I dare you to find a prosecutor stupid enough to attempt to take a case like this.
Mon Oct 15 2012 23:57
Neckbeards gonna Neckbeard.
Thu Oct 11 2012 07:58
Oh grow up. You're not the "bigger man". The "bigger man" would have just gotten over it. You sound like you're a spoiled brat who is used to getting trophy's for participation. I really feel for the younger generation if it is made up of whiny children like this.
Oliver Sansweet
Mon Oct 1 2012 21:02
The journalistic integrity in this story is at absolute zero. The author did not follow up with another witness from the class, nor did it have the common decency to stop, think, and wonder whether the allegations this Daniel Masip kid was making were either legitimate or the views of jaded social outcast with an agenda.

Half the article is libelous and I shudder to think how a story told by one prickled student could ruin the reputation and integrity of this instructor.

The story is only from Daniel Masip's point of view. Yes, the other kid, Evan Purchell did get a chance to speak his mind, but after every chance Purchell got to speak, the author gave Daniel Masip a chance for a heated, haughty, and fussy rebuttal, like how "animalistic" and "barbaric" the whole situation was.

Divya Kumar, EDITOR IN CHIEF, you need to take some time to evaluate whether or not you have your story straight. You call two witnesses a proper story? If you are writing for the Oracle, sure. If you are toying with people's careers and integrity, you need to rethink when and where you are ready to go to print.

Fri Sep 28 2012 18:05
Lots of stereotypes and logical fallacies in these comments. What if it were you being smacked by another student at the order of a professor?

What if the victim had been a woman? Then I bet everyone's comments would be different.

Fri Sep 28 2012 16:30
I agree with Heather - this is not newsworthy. Masip sounds pretty insane to me. He could literally end this instructor's career by getting the university and police involved with something so stupid. He's THAT upset by a smack on the back of the head? Grow up, learn how to take a joke, and stop being a huge ass.
Fri Sep 28 2012 16:11
He should have raised his hand and asked for a pass to the Nurses office. There he could get an icepack and then they could call his mommy and have her pick him up.
USF Alum also
Fri Sep 28 2012 09:47
USF Alum - the ones that say they hate drama are usually the most dramatic!

This kid reminds me of the crybaby that got Leavitt fired...grow a pair and quit whining.

USF Alum
Thu Sep 27 2012 16:24
"doesn't "conduct (himself) with such savagery."
"animalistic and barbaric"
"Your apology is questionable,"
Sounds like Masip has his head so far up his ass I'm surprised Purchell could reach it. And I'm sure his hand smelled bad after wards. And he even said he's "in class to learn, not be dramatic." Sounds like a drama queen to me...
Thu Sep 27 2012 13:24
Smacks to the back of the head? Serious Business. Better run to the police.

Heather, I'm with you. I feel bad for the professor. This kid needs to grow a pair.

Thu Sep 27 2012 12:48
This is not newsworthy, this is a maladjusted student who either wants a handout or just wants to watch the world burn. I feel for the professor. It wasn't the wisest of demonstrations, but I'm sure it was completely harmless.

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