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Professor arrested for battery

 A mass media professor is facing battery charges in connection with an incident that occurred in his 10 a.m. law class Friday, March 25.

 Assistant Professor, Dr. Frank J. Rybicki, was arrested Wednesday around 10:30 a.m., according to the Valdosta State University Police Department.

 Dr. Rybicki is free on bail as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff Department.

 According to the original incident report, a 22-year-old female student went to the VSUPD to report an assault involving a faculty member in the mass media building.

 The altercation occurred when Dr. Rybicki allegedly closed a laptop computer on the hands of the student, said Dorsena Drakeford, another student in the class and Spectator sports editor.

 Dr. Rybicki closed the laptop because he thought the student was on non-class related websites. The student began to argue with Dr. Rybicki about closing the laptop and about the websites she visited while in class. Class was dismissed early because Dr. Rybicki seemed upset by the incident, Drakeford said. 

 When students returned to the same class on Monday, they were greeted, not by their teacher, but instead two VSUPD officers.

 The students who had not witnessed the incident were asked to leave. The remaining students were advised by the officers not to talk to anybody about the incident and that police could find out if information about this incident was put on Facebook or  Twitter, Drakeford said.

 VSUPD Major Ann Farmer told The Spectator it is standard procedure to advise witnesses not to talk about the incident.

 Other students refused to comment, saying that they feared what other professors in the department might do if they talked about the incident.

  “We cannot release any information other than the incident report,” Farmer said. 

 The Spectator attempted to contact Dr. Carl Cates, head of Communication Arts, and Dr. Larry Etling, head of the Mass Media area, for comments Wednesday afternoon, but both were unavailable.

 Dr. Cates and Dr. Frank Barnas were in Dr. Rybicki’s classes Wednesday. They told students to keep up with readings, but wouldn’t give them any information about who would be teaching the classes from now on, Drakeford said. 

 When asking for a comment from the department, The Spectator was sent to Thressea Boyd, assistant to the president for communications.

“The university is investigating an incident involving a faculty member and this matter will be processed through the appropriate legal channels,” according to an official statement from the university sent from Boyd. 

“In terms of class instruction, modifications have been made,” according to the statement.

The Spectator also asked Boyd about the existence of a faculty code of conduct. The university statement included this response.

“All employees are expected to perform their obligations and responsibilities in a professional manner,” the statement expressed. “Additionally, employees are governed by the policies and procedures of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and Valdosta State University.”

Many students are concerned about the future of Rybicki’s classes and losing the professor. Some, like Josias Valdez, mass media major, feel he was simply enforcing a school rule about using social media in class, and that he shouldn’t be blamed for that.

 “[Dr. Rybicki] is one of the best teachers in the mass media system,” Valdez said. “The school should stand behind him. It’s a disgrace that we’ll lose a great teacher that I don’t think we should lose.”

Samuel Logan, junior mass media major, agreed with Valdez.

“I don’t think that the mass media department should lose a great teacher for something so trivial,” Logan said. “If he does get fired, VSU has lost a great professor.”

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  1. Great blog thank you! Feel free to check mine out.

  2. Who cares its on south campus all that matters are the professors on north campus.

  3. For further discussion, please join the facebook group “Team Rybicki” and let your voice be heard.

  4. VSU Grad Student

    Is it true she is getting special treatment with her classes now??

  5. Concerned Parent

    The professor’s actions crossed the line when he put his hands on the student (via her laptop). Many academics these days have lost touch with reality, living in their white towers where they think they are immune from laws that apply to the rest of us. They have immense power over students and those students’ prospective lives and careers. It’s about time they were held accountable as well. Why didn’t he simply excuse her from class? Why didn’t he tell her he’d mark her off a grade if she didn’t shut it? Making deliberate offensive contact with someone else is a battery. How would you like it if the professor sprayed a big red “L” (for Loser) on your forehead if you didn’t answer correctly. That doesn’t hurt you either, so your telling me you can’t complain about that?

  6. John Mikolajcik

    This story is the exact reason why investigations that are socially charged should not be published until the results are announced of the investigation and the trial. This event has created a negative atmosphere for both Dr. Rybicki and well the student whom decided to act out in this way. The Valdosta University police mishandled the publicity of this case as well as the Student herself. The fact that his has gain national attention over a trivial matter of closing a laptop not only discredits the school but all people involved. This can damage the rest of Rybicki’s career. Congratulations on using freedom of speech to rhetorically snipe a professor while the student in question, a member of the papers staff, basks in the attention she is getting from this.

  7. This is an insult to women who have actually been assaulted.
    Not to mention a total waste of everyone’s time and energy that now has to be involved.

  8. Great. Some stupid little girl is damaging a man’s career and impeding the education of her fellow students because she was too lazy to actually pay attention. Pathetic.

  9. Anyone else find it hilarious that a mass media teacher got upset over a student browsing what probably amounts to sites that fall into the category of… wait for it… ‘mass media’.

    If she wasn’t making noise or being physically disruptive (such as playing an intense game where she is moving wildly and pounding the keyboard) then who cares? If other students can’t keep themselves from looking at her laptop screen, that’s their own problem. Take some ADHD medicine or go back to your mommy’s house until you can function in the real world. The real world is full of distractions. Deal with it, you stupid snotty brats.

    And this teacher obviously isn’t a good teacher because there are PLENTY of ways to deal with so called ‘disruptive students’ that don’t involve physical contact.

    Plus, I bet his classroom is so poorly designed that he ought to be put in jail for life just for thinking he deserves to be a teacher.

  10. To all of you calling out others for posting comments and telling them to keep their mouthes shut… Stop that! We as a people have the right to speak our minds. To go on a website that you do not own, and to tell people to shut up, is plain stupid! If you get riled up because people are OMG commenting on a story, then go to work for the Chinese government. Act right before you get smacked right.

  11. If you support Dr. Frank Rybicki, please join the facebook group, Team Rybicki. Let’s make our voices heard by the administrators of Valdosta State University and the person accusing.

  12. I don’t go to this school but I hope he’s vindicated by witnesses and she gets kicked out of class. Hopefully this incident will follow her and she never gets a job in this field.

  13. The girl sounds like a B. 🙂

  14. This should not be an issue. Politically correctness and fear of lawsuits has turned hard working people into fearful workers who have to deal with children who can’t follow instructions. I hope the student gets expelled, she is obviously not capable of handing life in the real world without whining for help. Go home and grow up, come back when you’re an adult.

  15. Are you kidding me? I can’t believe resources were wasted on this. You are supposed to be in class learning. The vast majority of people at my university are on facebook or tweeting during class, and this is a distraction. It distracts me as I’m trying to learn. Bravo to this professor!

  16. Good to know to never send my kids to this University- what is this run by Nazi’s? What a joke

  17. @ Interesting

    OH MY GOD that’s amazing. Wonder if it’s the same girl, because that’s just too perfect.

    And I agree to the previous poster who mentioned the spelling and grammar to be ‘atrocious’ it is, sadly, I know many college graduates and business professionals who couldn’t spell their way out of a paper bag. Spell check can only do so much.

  18. Wow how sad. What kind of world do we live in where this is even an issue? I am just tuning into the story and having done some reading, though I am still very confused on why she was still on her computer when the teacher came close enough to shut the screen. I guess I do not have a good grasp on the layout of the classroom.
    Comment to Phil— how are you going to call someone’s profession or major a joke. This leads me to think that you are a failure… sorry for your lack of drive.
    I have no idea who this student is, but her actions are far too common. VSU needs to give teachers more control in their classrooms including, but not limited to shutting off or locking internet. This has turned into a huge mess and I wish the best for the teacher. I also hope the student realizes now or in the near future what she is actually doing. She like so many other “students” do not belong in college. She should take a year or so off. In this time she can get her first job and gain some life experience. Then come back when she actually wants to learn from someone who spent 8+ years of their life learning subject matter to only get disrespected by a non contributing zero.

  19. TO THE PERSON WHO COMMENTED ABOUT THE MASS MEDIA DEPARTMENT BEING A JOKE AT VSU. Just a little information for you, They are currently ranked number one in the state and number 45 in the nation as top mass media programs. Many students that are in and have graduated in the program have been very successful in the fields of work.

  20. I wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher anymore

  21. The Mass Media department has some of the most disrespectful students I have ever seen in a program. Many of them treat their professors with little respect, and as a student i am disappointed in their actions. Professors are aware of this problem, but little action is done about it. There are many programs i have been in where students would not think about being so rude as to spend the entire class surfing the web, fall asleep during their group presentation, or play their iPod out loud during a lecture. I take Media classes because i love the subject, but i disagree with the actions many of the students around me participate in. Could the professor have handled the situation better, yes. However, how can a professor respect a student as an adult, if the student does not act like one and show the professor the level of respect they deserve as well. The reason why students don’t succeed in the industry after they graduate is because their lack of motivation in school to participate and learn which translates into their work ethic.

  22. You can’t make this stuff up. Here”s a link to an article written by this (pain in the arse) student concerning procrastination and distractibility as it pertains to social media sites:


  23. To all of you who have commented on the Mass Media Department being a joke, or “good luck with our careers as baristas”- You need to know that there are VSU alum out there from this program that are currently working in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and Atlanta to name a few, in major markets that a large amount of people could only dream of working for. Krista- will never amount to anything other than a spoiled brat that gets by on her parents money or looks- however, people that work hard like myself and my collegues- we are the people that you’ll be working for.

  24. Where the prof went wrong was when she said she wouldn’t close the computer he should have told her to leave the class, he had the right to kick her out and have her withdrawn from his class and if she would have refused to leave he could have called campus security. VSU might need to have a prof work shop because going to college is a privilege not a right, prof don’t have to tolerate that kind of behavior from students and they shouldn’t.

    If you are a prof at VSU and you have students acting out as a VSU student I’m asking that you to please kick these people out of your class! Having them remain in class only hurts the folks that actually want to be there and it’s not fair to them.

    If I was in that class, I would be talking to a lawyer and seeing if I could sue that girl for my tuition!

    How self centered are you? Did you ever think that maybe some people actually want to be in class and are really interested in the subject matter and that’s why they are there?

  25. I would like to know did this school provide her the Internet system so she can access FB or non school web site? My kids had to sign an agreement at the beginning of the school year on what sites they could not use such as social networks on the school computers or personal computers on school time. So other students have to suffer by losing a well admired teacher that does his job because of this student’s selfish act. So is this student going on to pursue a law degree & license. OMG….please some one stop this nonsense. She does not belong in this field at all. She needs to grow up. And the school is not backing up the teacher…why??? Let’s say if my kids were going to this school, I’m paying tuition for this??? UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  26. It should never have come to this. There should, if there is not already a process by which a professor can initiate a series of warnings that lead to expulsion of the student from the university. Are the universities hurting so much for money that they cannot afford to kick out a few losers? Also, Why is a class on media being taught at a personal level at all? Isn’t this something the prof could just post on youtube and do the tests all by e-mail? How primitive is this school anyway?

  27. This is sad. What’s next? Is she gonna come to class with a cast on her finger, then the next day on her arm? Is she gonna be in a wheelchair too? I hate people that blow situations out of context for pure greed or revenge.
    She should have just apologized, and went about her work. If I was caught on a social media website at school during a lecture, I’d apologize and hang my head in embarassment and shame. Not openly yell at the teacher and treat them like their bothering you. Teachers are authority figures in my opinion, you respect them like you would a police officer, or even your elders. Respect their knowledge and abilities to teach you and help you along the way towards your career.

  28. Name the student. Name the student. Name the student.

  29. The only thing hurt here was her ego. It looks like she’s trying to save face by ruining this guy’s career.

  30. The entire Mass Media department is a joke anyway. Enjoy your future careers as baristas kids.

  31. I can’t decide whom I hate more, the self-entitled little child who can’t pay attention in class; or the pompous professor who has such an inferiority complex he needs all eyes on him.

    Her actions, while dumb, only hurt her and those dumb/weak enough to allow themselves to be distracted by her.

    The professor’s actions clearly show he has some control and attention issues. Regardless of how annoying she was, the man clearly needs to learn how to exhibit some self-control.

    Actually I decided whom I hate the most. It’s the people trying to suck up to faculty over the internet.

  32. The professor was right, if she wants to play on facebook she can stay in the dorm. It is not assault to touch someones laptop.

  33. To the people telling others to stay out of this, you need to shutup, people staying out of it is how innocent people especially men get locked away for years ruining their lives losing there jobs and any relationships they may have had.

  34. Social meda is very important, everyone now uses lap=tops nowerdays, back in the day it was strictly pens and paper maybe a typeing machine… The collage kids today use their medias- phones, computors, ect like all day long,
    The professor may have not handled the situation as well as he might have. and hopefully he and the student can mend their differences and get back to the business of teaching and learning.
    But all people must learn from this example of the dangers of computors, as, social media, computor anaylasses that we are really only guinny pigs in this new technology as its light speeds through our brains 24 7 with the world at our finger tips…..

  35. Based on my years of experience teaching in the same department, here is my assessment of the possible outcomes:

    1. Does Dr. Rybicki go to church and otherwise profess the Christian religion?

    2. If not, the department and the administration will brand him an undesirable abuser of students, make an object lesson of him, and either dismiss him immediately or refuse to renew his contract.

    3. If so, the incident will be swept under the rug, the university will pay the damages from any resulting civil suit, and Dr. Rybecki will be given paid leave until the whole thing blows over and he can resume teaching.

  36. Seems to me the solution is for the other students in the class to threaten suit against this little brat for the disruption her action has caused to their studies. Perhaps that will help focus her attention on something other than herself.

  37. when one googles “Valdosta State University”, the first thing that comes up is their ROTC program. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the “talent” lost in the “mass media” department which is an absurd department anyway. If someone’s teaching a class in mass media they had better come to grips with the fact that there are going to be students in your class that couldn’t care less about what you’re teaching.

    The fact is, the best college professors are calm enough to deal with unruly students without resorting to any kind of physical interaction whatsoever. This guy lost his cool and he’s going to pay for it. Whether or not the student is correct in this case or mentally sound for that matter is a non-issue.

    PS – If you’re going to defend someone’s academic integrity, learn how to type with good grammar. It’s discrediting to use the wrong “there”.

  38. Suspend The Student For being one of those D-Bags who thinks they can do whatever they want and when they find out they cant do whatever they want because of bad parenting and/or whatever reason they grew up and are unable to recognize authority and a sense of respect, feel the need to sue or press BS charges.

    I say give that professor a Raise for finally being someone who does there Job without having to worry about what the consequences are and send that D-bag ( non student ) home

  39. I taught auto shop in a high school. No value was seen by our administrators in vocational classes. The next step was for me to teach in a minor area, in a regular classroom. I was called on the carpet for, “raising my voice” to a student. Another teacher in the school was charged in court with, “Annoying a child” because of his comments about a student’s dress code violation. If found guilty he would have to register as a sex offender. Kids were coached to testify, but of course it fell apart in court. All of this was in Torrance, Ca. My point is that teaching has become so political and teachers so vunerable to any silly charge, that it is not a good thing to go into. Sad. Some serious changes need to be made.

  40. Well, if this is the same Krista Bowmen, then this article wwould be very ironic indeed: http://www.valdosta.edu/massmedia/digitaljournalism/tech_kb42810.html

  41. To the person who is posting the “Leave It Be” comments. It really doesn’t matter what you say. People have rights to say whatever they want about whatever they want. What the real issue here is, no matter how you want to think of it, is that the girl has taken it too far. It would take A LOT of force to break someones fingers by shutting a laptop on them and no teacher, no matter if they believe in physical discipline or not, would shut a laptop with that much force. If the girl is saying her fingers are broken, then she is taking it too far. NO MATTER WHAT!

    You talked against the “insider” comment and whether you are “in the girls pocket” or not, you are probably still a friend of hers. It is people like you who need to stay out of it. The biased people. The girls friends and the teacher would all have their own sides to back up. It is the students in the class who didn’t necessarily know the girl and have taken the teacher maybe once who should give their insight on what happened. Because they are unbiased. Also, if you keep talking about getting to know the facts about what actually happened and say that you have, then why don’t you post them? THAT makes you look ignorant. So next time, think about how you are going to approach the comment before you get mad.

  42. Give the professors to expel someone, then they won’t feel the need to do this. That will end this kind of behavior very quickly.

  43. I wasn’t there either and am no longer a student. That said – something is terribly wrong at this university. When I was in school, if the professors caught you reading a paper in class, they might set it on fire. You got the message. And no one ever called the cops nor would they come if called. Arresting someone is for a serious felony. I cannot imagine how that it is even possible. Grow up! And shame on all the students who felt the girl was a problem all along and never said a word to her.

  44. This lady should rethink her actions. For one on non work related website professor has a right to ask and by the look of it she been doing it for more then one lesson she should been remove from class. Has she got any finger broken no not serous and not harmful. Last but no lest she won’t make it in the real world were the pressure can build and you have to do real work. The professor hopefully get his job back on track. I hope he can continue with his career and provide high grade student in the field of there chose

  45. this has got to be an april fools prank but i’m sure it’s not.

  46. What right do police have to impose a gag order on students? If the wording in the article is accurate, was there an implied threat by the police to take some sort of action against students who either used facebook or twitter to comment on what they had seen? If that is actually the case, that is almost worse than the incident itself. Is this a police state? Such commentary by students and “witnesses” is still protected speech and no implicit threat of official action against any student should be tolerated by any law officer other than a judge.

  47. High five, America:)

  48. The student should be punished up to and including expulsion. She’s not only harming the professors career she’s harming every other student in that class. She’s a bad apple and the quicker the school is rid of her the better.

  49. I wasn’t there, I’m not a student, , and I don’t know the extent of the student misbehavior or the professor’s reaction…

    That said, the Professor knew better and should have exercised some restraint. You can’t make up all the rules as you go along. As a Soldier in Afghanistan, my platoon exercised great restraint toward people who did their best to provoke us to violence in order to gain a propaganda victory. Unfortunately for this teacher, he let himself be bated into reacting in such a way that puts him unjustly in the power of a lesser person.

    I’m very sorry to hear this story – it seems like the professor is an excellent teacher, and well loved by his students. I hope they can save his career.

  50. The student is the one who should be punished. She sounds like another rich, spoiled brat who thinks the rules don’t apply to her. If she didn’t want to pay attention she should stay away from the classroom. Surely the police have something better to do than play into the hands of a brat like this one.

  51. Townsend Harris

    Dear Students,
    If Rybicki is an adjunct, the easiest thing to do is not rehire him beginning in the next semester. If the student pays tuition, the easiest thing to do is be sure she continues to pay tuition.
    How much you wanna bet the chair/dean/provost/president does the easiest thing?
    Old Adjunct

  52. this is an incident which should not have been highlighted this much. I do not think that it was by any given mode the professors fault. It can be clearly noticed that the girl is indeed a drama queen and just wants to be in the lime light without realizing that their is a professors life at stake. For god sake is it morally right to put him behind bars for such a small incident ? if yes, and the professor still has to pay a bail or be in jail then GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!

  53. If she had a Macbook like a normal person her fingers would be fine.

  54. Name the student. Name the student. Name the student.

  55. the girl’s name is KRISTA BOWMAN…let ostracise her from the school…

  56. Wow seriously! Good thing I wasnt the professor in this class. I would have slammed the laptop over her head. (nobody is going to disrespect my lecture) I would have given all the students an “A” to say that her laptop fell on top of her head.

  57. I’m no Picasso, but I’m pretty sure it’s a physical impossibility for one human to “crush” another human’s fingers with the screen of a laptop -under the condition that base of the laptop remains motionless on a stable platform such as a desk or a table. I mean, think of the force necessary to bring the screen-half of a notebook computer to “crushing” velocity (assuming we’re dealing with something that fits the contemporary definition of a computer and not an abacus made of lead). Perhaps if the professor had taken the computer and swung it at the student’s hand like some sort of student-finger-crushing battle-axe… Or, if he had taken the computer, and then ascended a very tall latter and dropped it on her hand like some sort of ariel ordinance… OR! If perhaps the professor were not Dr. Rybicki, but instead Dr. Ronnie Coleman [hint: not really a phd]… ORRRRR! If perhaps were talking about less of a “crushing” and more of an “agitated to severely-agitated” type injury, I might more easily conceive that scenario be within the realm of possibility* (given the confines of our physical world). Seriously, somebody call Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, because this myth needs to be BUSTED.

    *Which isn’t to to say there is a legal difference between crushing and agitating -I wouldn’t know, I’m no Freud- but I’m really only taking issue with the word crushing here (and similarly suspicious terminology used above).

  58. Sounds like to me, she is nothing but a drama queen.

  59. Remember, assault has nothing to do with battery. They are completely separate charges. Many of you seemed to be confusing the two.

    In common law, assault is the tort of acting intentionally and voluntarily causing the reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact. Because assault requires intent, it is considered an intentional tort, as opposed to a tort of negligence. Actual ability to carry out the apprehended contact is not necessary.

  60. Hey Erica,

    Closing a laptop on someone’s hand isn’t battery. If that’s battery, the next time someone bumps you in the hall, that’s battery too.

    One cannot reasonably assume that closing a laptop will cause injury, even if your hand is in it.

    Also, you refer to “hitting” a student in your post. That is not being accused by anyone in this case. Was that just hyperbole or did you not read the article?

  61. Oh be quiet Erica. Closing a laptop on a student’s hands is hardly assault. Two, he didn’t “slam” the laptop, as you would like to misconstrue it. I won’t even start on the other stupid sh^t in your post. Now please, get out and take your idiocy with you. Thanks.

  62. I personally think that all this is stupid drama that is making the school look bad.
    The school should suspend that girl and also remind professors to be professional.

  63. I think that the other students in that class should sue her. They all paid for that class and now are not getting their money’s worth due to her purposeful actions.

  64. I hope the over-entitled little brat with the computer gets her ass handed to her in court. This is such frivolous litigation that I want to vomit. You don’t disrespect a professor in his classroom – HIS classroom, HIS rules. She should have been thrown out of class and given an F.

  65. This is ridiculous

    This is a ridiculous situation. Regardless of whether or not the professor should have handled her computer, it is not a justifiable reason for an arrest. The girl is crying for attention and hoping to salvage her pride and possibly get a free pass in the class. The fact that she is an immature, pitiful human being is regretful, but what’s more regretful is a school administration terrified of standing behind its professors (he is an assistant professor, therefore probably not tenured, and thus doesn’t deserve a benefit of a doubt…) Instead of handling this in a reasonable manner and investigating further into the matter, the school was only too happy to suspend the professor almost immediately. That’s a wonderful message being sent to the rest of the students – as long as you pay us lots of money, you may act as you wish in class, throw around wild accusations against respected members of the staff, and we will back you up without looking into the matter any further. I think it’s the school and the media department that must be boycotted until the professor is reinstated. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty???” Shame on Valdosta. Shame. Shame. Not only is this costing a good professor his career, not only a person in the wrong triumphs, but other students who actually care about the class and want to learn now miss out on the rest of the course.
    And is this what the tax payers’ dollars are being spent on?? I am so happy that the real criminals are being apprehended. Now we can all sleep so much safer.

  66. school is for learning, not playing

  67. I find it interesting that innocent until proven guilty has a strange tilt… the teacher has been arrested. His name all over the paper and internet: Career in shambles. But the accuser: nary a mention of her name. Cowards accuse from the darkness. Her name should be as public as Frank Rybicki’s has become. Speaking as someone who has hired quite a few people over the years, when I receive someone’s resume my first task is to put their particulars thru google and all the other search tools. I want to know who I would be hiring. When I get over 20 applications from VERY qualified applicants, this is as good a reason as any to exclude from an interview. One of my favorite interview questions is about conflict resolution. While not excusing the actions of the instructor, calling the cops is not, in my opinion an effective conflict resolution technique to be utilized. If she’s as described, she can forget about getting a job on her own merit. And believe me, her name will eventually be revealed. My best advice (unsolicited) to them both is for her to drop all charges, and they issue a joint apology to each other. Otherwise, this will not end well for either of them.

  68. These comments read like they were written by high school kids, not mature college students.

    And the spelling and grammar is so atrocious, it makes me embarrassed for all the kids who go to this college. OMG

  69. MoeMentum,

    I am a VSU graduate. I am also a peace officer. While I am not a former VSUPD officer as you claim, I am a former UGAPD officer, a position I held for 10 years prior to being appointed as Chief Deputy in Oconee County.

    As a student at VSU, I was on the receiving end of a tirade by a professor combined with an attempt to have me falsely arrested and possibly thrown out of school. I was involved in a discussion with another professor from whom I was actually taking a class when the professor in question inserted himself into the conversation. When I asked him please stay out of it and allow me to discuss the issue with my actual professor, he responded by attempting to physically intimidate me by coming very close to making physical contact with me to the point that I backed away because I actually thought he was going to put his hands on me. He had me boxed in so that I couldn’t leave without pushing him out of the way. When he finally moved out of my way, I left the room.

    It didn’t end there. He then tried to persuade my professor to go to the VSUPD and make a report claiming that I made threats. My professor declined, and several other faculty members interceded on my behalf.

    I write the above to illustrate that there are instances in which professors cross the line. In 10 years as a peace officer in a university setting, I saw numerous examples of this happening including a case resulting in the arrest and successful prosecution of a professor for sexual battery on a student.

    Arrests are simply accusations based upon probable cause. The professor in this case is presumed innocent. If, for the sake of argument, we accept that he did close the computer on the student’s fingers, and if we accept that her behavior in class had been disrespectful and disruptive, shouldn’t he have handled the situation administratively by dropping her from the class or referring the matter to the student judiciary? Would not such an approach be more acceptable than simple battery?

    J. Lee Weems
    Class of 1998

  70. The student is an adult who is paying to be in the class. If she isn’t causing an overt disturbance, who cares what she’s doing on her laptop? The professor can ask her to leave the classroom or simply give her an ‘F’. Problem solved.

    Her assault charge is ridiculous but so is humiliating an adult who is paying to be in the class. They both seem to have poor judgment on how to behave.

  71. Seriously people? Would it be okay if he rapped her hands with a ruler? No. So why is it any different if he crushes her hands in a laptop? Rapping someone’s hands with a ruler doesn’t cause “serious damage” but it’s still against the law–all corporal punishment in educational institutions is. I got to a university, have a 4.0, and I hate it when students aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing in class–but that doesn’t give a faculty member the right to be unprofessional; handle a student’s expensive, personal belongings; and harm them physically even if the professor’s intentions are good (i.e. to dissuade a student from being disruptive). In actuality, hitting a student or handling their belongings is more distracting than simply asking to speak with them after class, lower their grade, or kicking them out of the lecture. That would be the professional way to handle the student. Slamming their laptop on a student’s fingers is not, under any circumstances, an acceptable way for a professional lecturer to behave. No one, no educator for any grade level in any institution, should be allowed to behave in this way. While I feel the student may be blowing what happened out of proportion, it doesn’t change the fact that the professor acted in an immature, unprofessional, disruptive and illegal way. Assault is never okay, no matter how “minor” or how “justified.”

  72. “Wow, I didn’t know it was a professor’s job to BABYSIT. I would figure that paying for classes at such a respected university would make you want to get your money’s worth but apparently Mom & Dad just needed someone to babysit this idiot.”

    Since when is Valdosta State a respected university?

  73. Name the student…we need to hold people accountable for their actions in this society.

  74. Sounds to me like a “Storm in a Teacup”
    People want to get some perspective on these things!

  75. Name the name…….

    It’s the only way to warn people in her future.

  76. A better move would have been to award an F for the class and have campus police remove her. Can you be charged for battery if all you do is remove the battery?

  77. If she was that concerned about what her boyfriend is saying to another girl on Twitter, maybe she needs to dump him since she can’t trust him anyways.

  78. I’m sorry, but when I pay for a college class, I expect to be lectured for what I’m paying for. Not dealing with a disrespectful student who it seems was deliberately trying to get away with what I’m sure she has been allowed to get away with all her life.

    As someone else mentioned, those students now have to work their butts off to make up for the lost week, and the student who filed these charges gets to continue on as if nothing happened. To be honest, she sounds like another Nancy Grace in the making. Funny she’s going into law too. Just remember not to do anything illegal that will get you disbarred.

    I hope she’s happy, this man’s career is over because she couldn’t put Twitter down for a few hours and actually do some work. I know, what a thought! If he shut your laptop after repeated warnings you deserve to have your pride hurt.

    And to the people who claim to know the whole story because you heard it from her, wake up. That is only one side of the argument, and obviously she’s going to tell you whatever she wants to say to make herself look good. You can’t be that dense. Get a clue, the whole lot of you.

  79. To “MoeMentum”, I love how you accuse the “insiders” of being in the girl’s pocket because we saw what happened. You weren’t there, so you really don’t know. You say you’re a former police officer for the school, well that’s all fine. Too bad you’re still a part of that “old boy’s club” that still protects each other’s backs when they get in trouble so that no one gets their toes stepped on. How about going out and learning the facts yourself, talking to the people involved like I have before you go all gung-ho and accusatory? Not only does it make you look bad, it also makes you look completely ignorant. And suggesting that the professor should have broken all of her fingers makes you just look like an ass, I’m sorry.

  80. I think the teacher had every right to close the students laptop. Its highly doubtful that she was not on Facebook, Twitter or any of the myriad of social media distractions that plague classrooms everywhere these days.

  81. Its frustrating to see that the criminal justice system can be tied up so easily by such a seemingly trivial incident. If the victim was a rational human being and was legitimately injured during the incident, or perhaps was chronically having disagreements with the professor, I’m sure there were far more suitable means of resolving the issues rather than initially pressing criminal charges.

    In any case, if what the majority of people involved are saying of the incident, and what I would think most people not involved are assuming is the case then the I am sure justice will be found in due course. I would hope that the mentality of the student involved is among a minute minority.

    If Universities have a habit of admitting students who’s thought processes produce irrational actions such as these, then I suggest admission screening processes need to include some form of psychological or maturity screening other than academic results. At some point all children need to grow up, and one would hope that such an event would occur, at least to a some extent, before reaching university.

  82. Let’s all ostracize the self-entitled, careless, rude, belligerent, ridiculous student until she leaves the school, just like that girl from UCLA. Professor Rybicki’s academic career might be over because this stupid, awful girl (I refuse to say ‘woman’ as if she is some sort of adult) had her pride hurt. If this ends up going to court, I hope the judge laughs at her and tells her to grow the hell up.

    You guys… what ever happened to decency and common sense?

  83. @ #’s 4 and 8: lul wut? “No one talk about it! Everyone pay attention to something else! This isn’t your business!” Haha good luck with that. The student in question sounds like a piece of work who needs a stiff dose of reality. This is spoken as someone who was not in the class and is not a student of Valdosta State, ha.

  84. Wow, I didn’t know it was a professor’s job to BABYSIT. I would figure that paying for classes at such a respected university would make you want to get your money’s worth but apparently Mom & Dad just needed someone to babysit this idiot. I say this as something I NEVER thought I would ever say – if this student was “assaulted”, she would have deserved it – but she was not. The professor was doing what was right to maintain an optimal learning environment and this brat got all butthurt about it. I hope this gets thrown out because it is absolutely ridiculous!

    An LU senior & Child of VSU Alumni

  85. Hey commenter #8–
    It definitely IS the business of other students. If a ridiculous complaint made by a single self-absorbed student robs VSU of a talented, popular professor, then the university suffers. Besides, she is setting a precedent for any obnoxious kid to bring legal action against a prof that embarrasses them for their own inappropriate classroom behavior. We have every right to comment on this, and to express our outrage.

  86. As both a student and a peace officer, I know that more and more control is being taken away from professors in recent times. As a former VSU Police Officer, I can’t count the number of times I was called to classrooms by professors with an unruly student. I even had to arrest a few of them (students). I understand the level of frustration they must feel when grown folks, ADULTS, still act as high school kids in class. Messing on computers, texting, worrying about what’s going on in social networking, blah, blah, blah. I had my share of distractions in class, too.

    I guess the idea that you are PAYING to be there is even more compelling as to why you should pull your head out of your arse and get to work. Respect the leader of the class and get your stuff done. Or, as someone else mentioned, get out.

    These “insiders” who know the whole story are in the “victims” pocket, and probably of the same ilk. I can’t imagine this professor being so impatient as to slam her laptop closed without warning, without a history of distraction. It seems to me that this man had all he could take, and SHOULD have broken her fingers. All of them. Maybe now she’ll learn a lesson.

    As it stands now, that lesson is lost, because the professor was arrested for hurting her fingers and her pride.

    Pride. Thats really the issue here. This girl sounds like a DB, and should be cut from the herd.

  87. Rybicki is one of the best teachers in the Mass Media department, only behind Barnas and Savioe. He dosn’t make lame excusses for canceling classes like others do. He dosn’t make students memoires stupid facts, or give out assignments that are pointless like others do. He dosen’t bore you to death with lectures like others do. He knows who to teach, he keeps students involved in the class, and I’ve only had him for one class, last semester. Frankly I’m tired of teachers being too afraid to stand up and take command of the class. Maybe he shouldn’t of touched the student property, but damn I’m tired of my education being handicapped by other students. I remember hearing stories from my parents about how professors don’t take any crap from students in college. But some professors are being ran over, and if VSU does not stand behind Rybicki then it will continue to happen. If a student or group of students are causing a distraction then they should be removed.

  88. No one here needs to get involved in this..it’s none of their business! I’ve heard the story direct from the person involved and other people in the class and it’s being settled with the people involved in the incident. It’s no one else’s business but theirs so let it be! The published story isn’t completely factual so until all the facts are brought to light, no one should be talking about it honestly.

  89. The girl’s thumb was between the screen and her keyboard when her computer was shut, but somehow her pinky finger was fractured and now she’s saying it’s broken? The thing is that she got embarassed because she got yelled at in class, and now recovering from her shame is worth ending a man’s career.

    1)The teacher she disrespected day after day by her inattentiveness has been arrested for battery against a student; a charge that will probably end his career as a teacher.

    2)And the other students in this class, who PAY for this class, have now had a week filled with being questioned by the police and listening to a vague speech by Dr. Kates instead of a week worth of classes. They now will receive a new teacher in the middle of the semester, have to catch up from being a week behind, learn on a time crunch, and hope their grades don’t suffer.

    All of that is going on WHILE this student gets to complete the rest of her classes in directed studies all though this teacher she accused of assaulting her isn’t allowed to teach.

    If he’s not teaching her or even in the mass media building, why can’t she come to classes like everyone else and learn this new curriculum from a new teacher with a new teaching style under a new time crunched schedule like her classmates?

    The ONE person who started all of this, is the ONE person this isn’t effecting.

  90. Even if people commenting here “weren’t there” that doesn’t give them the right to freedom of speech. If Spectator wants to do its job, which is report the news, then that’s all that needs to be known.

    If this teacher shut the laptop so hard that her arms were somehow mangled, fine.. but seriously, she had PLENTY.. PLENTY of other options.

    A Don’t be so rude in a classroom.
    B If you are going to play on your laptop .. either don’t take the laptop to class, or don’t take yourself to class
    C Do what the teacher says for half a second; he / she probably knows more than you do so grow up and take some responsibilities; College isn’t another episode of High School where you can get away with being a distraction; some people here WANT to learn, if you don’t care, .. then get out! Or at least be somewhat polite.
    D Don’t take this to such an extreme!!!!

    Seriously! When I was back in elementary school the teachers were mostly allowed to take out a paddle to students if they were misbehaving.. nowadays a teacher can’t even breathe on you without someone freaking out and taking ABOVE and BEYOND advantage of the situation.

    I’m sorry, but no matter HOW you look at it; going to jail is a rather serious thing to have on a record.. does shutting a laptop on some girl who probably wasn’t paying attention enough, and instead worrying about what her ex boyfriend was saying to some girl on twitter, probably would have realized the teacher was trying to get her to pay attention and shut the laptop.

    Final statement:
    Even if it was hard.. it’s not as permanent as a record of jail time no matter what.

  91. I was in the class, this student blew this up. It should have ended when we left class. The student, a female, thinks her stuff doesn’t stink and she thinks she is better than anyone. (i.e. a picture on her facebook says “yep, I’m basically perfect”)

    She got called out and embarrassed in front of class and now she is making a big deal to grab the attention. She ruined this professors career and put the rest of mass media students in a tough spot with five weeks left to go.

    None of us know what to expect in the classes now with different professors stepping in. Oh yeah, she doesnt have to finish the law class either.

  92. That drama queen seriously needs some help…. The idoit was obviously on other websites white he was teaching and that was already disrespectful . She shouldn’t have got an attitude for something she was doing wrong , just another media attention seeing person who needs their fifteen minutes of fame. I highly doubt that professor would actually hurt someone. I hope he wins this case and that student drops out of valdosta.

  93. Students shouldn’t jump to conclusions about this whole situation because there’s a lot more to it than what’s being published here. Also, students who are not in the class have no room to be posting comments seeing as they were not there. Everyone should let this die down because it’s not a good situation for all parties involved.

  94. Arrested for battery. For closing a laptop? Did it break the students fingers or something? I was thinking he hit a student with a computer. Simply closing it may be a little trivial to ruin a mans entire life over dont ya think??

  95. Also the student was on non-related websites! She is also on facebook, twitter, and youtube! Also she is always playing games!!

  96. Team Rybicki!!! The student is a complete drama queen and was asked multiple throughout the semester to close her computer. The student has also been in pervious classes with this professor and has been a distraction to all the students in her classes!

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