College professor put on leave after berating hearing-impaired student on Zoom
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A professor at a California college has been put on administrative leave for berating a hearing-impaired student during a Zoom class that went viral.
The tenured professor at Oxnard College — identified as Michael Abram – appears frustrated as he tried to get the student’s attention, KTLA reported.
“Ms. Salazar, I’ve been talking to you, Ms. Salazar,” the anatomy and physiology prof can be heard saying.
“I can hear you a little bit,” the student responds.
“You can hear me a little bit? Why didn’t you answer all the time I spoke to you then?” Abram says.
“I’m hard of hearing,” she responds as he continues yapping.
“Why don’t we talk sometimes? Why don’t you email me? We’ll set up a live Zoom and we’re gonna have some real communication at some point in time,” Abram says heatedly.
“Maybe you can have your counselor join us,” he adds.
Another student then chimes in.
“Professor? She’s actually hard of hearing. So her translator goes in a little bit late. She can’t respond right away,” the student says.
To which Abram fires back, “She’s not paying attention. She’s not trying. Are you her translator?”
“No, I’m not … but it’s slower on her end because she needs to get it translated and then it goes through her hearing aide,” the student says.
“Ms. Salazar, have your counselor speak with me because you have too much distraction to even understand what’s going on,” Abram says.
The Ventura County Community College District, which oversees Oxnard, said it received hundreds of calls and emails alerting them about the disturbing video.
“A lot of the people are understandably angry, upset and saddened by what they saw in the video,” district Chancellor Greg Gillespie told KTLA.
Abram has been put on paid leave until an investigation by the district is completed.
Oxnard College President Luis Sanchez called the video “heartbreaking.”
“No matter what led up to that interaction, there is no justification… It horrified me,” he said.
District officials said they’ve reached out to the student to offer support, according to the news outlet.
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