Student smacked in class

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 students 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 Oracles requests for comment.

Ruyle, he said, offered him the option of punching Purchell back, something Purchell said they joked about after. Masip didnt take up the offer because he describes himself as a civil adult who doesnt 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.

Its a fun class, he said. She wasnt 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 didnt make a complaint, he said. Im in class to learn, not be dramatic. Im the bigger man. Im not going to stoop to that level.

Purchell said he didnt 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. Its stupid, animalistic and barbaric.

Purchell said he understood why Masip might have felt singled out, though he didnt 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 wasnt sure what he was doing, and she yelled at him for it. But she does that to everyone, because thats how it is in the real world. She wasnt 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 wouldnt 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 Masips visit or the details of the scenario, but said he was unsure if the professors actions would be considered battery.

Definitely if that occurred, it would be a battery between the two students, he said. I dont know that the professor could be criminally tied to it. I havent 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 Deans office promised he would be fully reimbursed.

Though he said he is satisfied with the outcome, he is still upset about the incident.

This is not right, he said. If nobody speaks out, shes going to continue on it. Many students are too cowardice or dont have confidence. Even if its a professor, dont take it. (Professors shouldnt) mistreat somebody when they dont deserve it. Sooner or later, somebodys going to step up to the plate, and theyre not going to like it.