BY YAZMIN TORRES, CYPRESS CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
During a communications studies class on Wednesday, April 28th, a dispute ensued between a Cypress College adjunct professor and student, 19-year-old Braden Ellis, after he gave a presentation in opposition to “cancel culture” and expressed police as heroes.
A video, now gone viral, started with the adjunct professor taking issue with what Ellis had said in his presentation regarding cancel culture in the US, in which children’s shows like Nickelodeon’s “Paw Patrol,” have faced scrutiny for their police inspired canine helpers being depicted as good cops.
“This issue is systemic because the whole reason we have police departments in the first place, I mean where did it stem from, what’s our history…it stems from people in the South wanting to capture runaway slaves” said the professor in the video. Ellis responded and said he believed cops are heroes and have a difficult job.
As tensions rose, the adjunct professor was seen continuously interrupting Ellis and said a lot of police officers have committed atrocious crimes and have gotten away with it. “We have bad people, and the people that do bad things should be brought to justice,” Ellis responded. “I agree with that.”
Later in the video, Ellis asked the professor who she would call when someone intruded on her home with a knife or a gun.
“I wouldn’t call the police, I don’t trust them. My life is in more danger in their presence. I wouldn’t call anybody” the professor responded.
“Would you have a gun on you?” Ellis asked.
“No, it would be my time to go,” she responded.
Ellis stated he had never heard answers like this before and was stunned that the 10-minute question and answer session. following his presentation, ended up turning into an argument with his professor.
“I was shocked and saddened, as she was very biased with her responses,” he said.
On Monday, the campus was closed by administrators after a “threatening email was received by employees,” college officials stated in an email to staff and faculty.
The adjunct professor, unidentified, has since been placed on a leave of absence “for the duration of her assignment at Cypress College. This was her first course at Cypress and she had previously indicated her intention not to return in the fall to teach more classes,”said Marc Posner, communications director at Cypress College in a statement sent out late Friday.
Posner wanted to ensure that students, parents and staff understood that freedom of speech is extremely important to the school.“Any efforts to suppress free and respectful expression on our campus will not be tolerated,” he said.
Towards the end of the video, a fellow student was seen defending Ellis, despite not agreeing with his point of view. “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll fight for your right to say it,” the student said.
The video has received vast exposure, appearing on Fox News, LA Times, New York Post and the Orange County Register. It also gained attention from the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the nation’s largest police union. In a tweet, the group criticized American universities for becoming, “indoctrination farms where critical thinking and ingenuity are stifled by the intolerance of simple minded professors like these who are completely unwilling to accept anything but their own opinion as fact.”
Following the aftermath of the viral video, Cypress College President, Dr. Joanna Schilling has responded to the incident in a campus statement, stating that Cypress, “is committed to ensuring that students learn in a safe and supportive environment… we also ask that we take this opportunity as a campus community to think through how we are able to help our students learn effectively while allowing for the opportunity to discuss opposing views in a collegial manner.”
Ellis mentioned that he was able to keep his composure by remembering to answer with gentleness and respect.“We need to learn to have civil discussions. It’s about time we learn to stay calm. Forget the emotions, where is the common ground,” Ellis said. “We need to remember when we teach bad, teach the good as well. There are people on all sides with different opinions, teachers should have open ears to their students.”
Ellis stated he appreciated the outpour of support he received from people all across the political spectrum, and he wishes no harm against the professor.
Cypress College stated they will be reviewing the exchange and will address it fully in the coming days.