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Prof suspended after arrest

 The VSU police department is still investigating the battery charges against a mass media professor after he allegedly assaulted a student.

 Assistant professor, Dr. Frank Rybicki, is on paid suspension until the investigation is finished. After that, decisions will be made as to whether or not he can continue teaching at VSU.  
 “I haven’t heard anything yet,” he said. “It’s just kind of a wait and see situation.”

 Many of Dr. Rybicki’s students are supporting him. Some have generated petitions to show their support. 

 Brittany Briscoe, junior mass media major, collected 100 signatures of additional support from her peers.

 She then made copies of the signed petition and distributed them to VSU officials including VSU president, Dr. Patrick Schloss.

 “I was not trying to collect a huge number of signatures,” Briscoe said.  “I simply wanted to get a nice, whole number that would justly represent the student support for Dr. Rybicki.”
 Last week’s article in the Spectator regarding the incident has recorded over 26,000 hits on vsuspectator.com, and the issue has received national attention through the Huffington Post, Forbes, TIMES NewsFeed, and USA Today.

 There have also been nearly 80 comments on the website, mostly in support of Dr. Rybicki.

 “It’s very nice and satisfying to see I have support from students and so many others,” he said.

 But The Spectator wasn’t the only one receiving comments in support of Dr. Rybicki; he was receiving many in his own inbox.

 “I got tons of emails,” Dr. Rybicki said. “I had one start out as ‘God bless you sir’ from a guy who was in a similar position.”

 Dr. Rybicki would not comment on the actual incident. He was told not to talk about personnel issues to outsiders.

  “And I don’t consider my students to be outsiders,” he said. “I feel this (commenting) is a way for me to express my gratitude for their support.”

 Rybicki was told not to speak with other professors, and they were asked not to speak to him, Dr. Rybicki said. This makes things difficult on the professors and students because Dr. Rybicki has all his students’ grades and information about the classes he is teaching.

 “I feel terrible [about leaving the class in the middle of the semester],” he said. “It puts everyone (students and those taking care of the classes) in a tough position.”

 The ordeal began with an incident that occurred in his 10 a.m. law class March 25.

 According to the original incident report, Krista Bowman, a mass media major, went to the VSU Police Department 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 Bowman, said Dorsena Drakeford, another student in the class and Spectator sports editor.

  Dr. Rybicki closed the laptop because he thought Bowman was on non-class related websites.  

 Bowman then 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.

 Dr. Rybicki, was arrested March 30, according to the VSUPD.

He was then freed on bail later that afternoon, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff Department.

 Dr. Rybicki has high hopes about the situation though.

  “I hope this all gets cleared up to business as usual,” Dr. Rybicki said.

Trevor Smith contributed to this report.

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  1. This girl is wrong

    @Martha, if you would like to add to the conversation, please dictate with correct grammar usage. Your lack of grammar only hurts your argument because other people will not take your words seriously.

    Having said that, the fact that the student is being protected from the rest of the student body by receiving special privileges is absurd. I understand that the school was trying to stay out of legal trouble itself and pretty much said, “Shhh. please do not make this such a big deal. We will make it really easy for you to graduate and leave this college as quickly as possible in hopes that this whole situation will disappear. ” From reading the comments above, this girl has little to no respect for the teacher or her classmates. @ Martha, how can you talk about your kids in this situation? from your comments, it seems to me that you would automatically side with what your kids tell you without listening to both sides of the story and the reprimand that is attached to it. This man loved his job and loved teaching. He is obviously, from the support all over the country, adored by many and scorned by only a select few.
    So, for everyone that wants to look at the facts, the whole story, and the sequence of events that took place, I urge you too and then develop your own opinion. Please do not just get on a blog page similar to this one and spout off about your personal problems or deep embedded insecurities/issues (kids and other irrelevant jargon) and please refrain most of all from making wild accusations such as calling a teacher that I am sure you do not even know, nor were you present for the events, a “teacher beater”.

  2. Don't mess with Texas

    Also, surprised the girl was never charged with disorderly conduct. Based on what I’ve seen in the news, she did enough to warrant getting charged and arrested too.

  3. Don't mess with Texas

    Do not assume that the girl is telling the truth about her fingers getting hurt. Also we do not know to what extent she tried to provoke a confrontation. Story says she argued with the professor. She had no business doing that, it shows very bad character, and she should have been penalized by the school for her behavior which was clearly extremely disruptive. As far as I am concerned, the prof had every right to close the laptop, and she should have gotten her fingers out of the way. In fact, by reflex, she probably did get her fingers out of the way, unless she was so absorbed in arguing with him that she didn’t realize he was closing her laptop. Next thing we know, when a professor tries to yank an exam from a student because time is up, we have to worry about assault charges? Be serious people!

  4. Krista Bowman gets to graduate early, take classes online, and doesn’t have to turn anything in for her senior seminar. Why is this girl getting rewarded for screwing up a great professor’s career? Bowman was definitely in the wrong for all of her actions during the semester and she should NOT be getting rewarded for this.

  5. First of all either that laptop was ancient and made out of rock or something, or he picked it up and slammed it down on her fingers. Did he close it and sit on her hands? Are her bones made of glass? Laptops are made of plastic. Some macs and some other computers are made out of metal but nothing that would break fingers. If someone was slamming something on my hand I would do what any sensible human would do. Move my hands out of the way! I wouldn’t like if a professor touched my laptop and maybe he took it too far when he touched hers, but seriously? She was in His room and needed to abide by His rules. Like it or not, the professor is the King of his classroom.

  6. Here is an article I believe everything should read that was written by the victim for her digital communications class. Maybe she should have taken her own advise.
    Social Networking
    by Krista Bowman
    It seems like every year a new social networking
    site is created; first Myspace and Facebook,
    and now Twitter and Formspring…everyone is trying to “stay connected”. The founders of most of these websites allow people of all ages to use them, but the majority of users are college students.
    While many college students may find these sites fun, they can also be very distracting. University libraries across the country are full of students who are supposed to be doing their assignments, but instead are on these sites. It would be a shame to think the harmless development
    of social networking websites could be the cause of students ending up on academic probation, but it is not beyond the realm of possibility.
    In college, balancing a social schedule often takes
    precedence over homework and a website like Facebook can be viewed as an enabler. When people, principally college students and men and women in the workforce, stop spending
    their time productively, social networking can begin tobecome an issue.
    Sydney Lewis, a student at Valdosta State, said while she still makes good grades, she has been guilty of getting on Facebook, while she is in class. Candice Allen further reiterates this fact by saying, “When I want to procrastinate from my school work, I get on Twitter and Facebook…they are easy ways to lose track of time.”
    Luckily, there are ways to not allow yourself to lose control when it comes to social networking websites.
    1. Set aside time in your day, when you do not have other things to work on,
    to get online.
    2. Cut the time you spend using these sites in half and use it to more productive activities.
    3. Stop checking up on people via their profile pages…get to know them personally.

  7. I already made a statement concerning this issue and I want to make a statement again. My personal opinion. I do not think this student was wrong for reporting him to the authorities and I think that he should have been arrested, suspended without pay and not allowed to turn back to his job for his actions. People that is supported this man need to think how they would feel if they was this particular student no student should have to come to school and get their hands smash by a teacher been upset about no listening to his lecturer and I know this man should have use a different approach concerning this student and him as a teacher should not what and what he shouldn`t do a student. This is a unacceptable behavior and the teacher should be accountable for his negative action on that student. I am a parent and a student myself and I will not want to hear my child or children got their hand smash because they are used their laptop students go to school to learn and not get banged up and make the students learning environment safe not where a child should get in a altercation with her instructor and I feel that this young lady did the right thing and right is right in my book and wrong is wrong no matter who it is on the wrong side and justice need to be done for this student get her finger smash and I will help support this student . He should thought before he smash her fingers about losing his job at that time he didn`t care about his job. I will not support a teacher beater but I will support the person that was woman enough to go to the authorities. Marsha

  8. Not only has she caused her class and all his other classes to suffer she has also caused all of the students that he is an advisor to suffer from because we were not aware of what happened untill the other day. we were all needing to ask him questions, and seeking help from him because we have all been trying to sign up for summer and fall classes also. I hope Karma hits her hard!

  9. I want to make a comment concerning this article concerning the professor that smash that young lady hand in the laptop. I think that was inappropropiate for a professor to do to that young woman and I do not think they should keep him on staff neither should they pay him while suspended. I object this behavior and I don`t think instructor should get a pat on the back for saying job well done. I smash a kid finger in her lap top because she was not paying attention to mylecture. This is not acceptable for a student to get treated in that type of manner. Instuctors should be accountable for their actions. Marsha

  10. Join in supporting Dr. Rybicki.

  11. I’m all for this man. He did the right thing and the girl is just an overly melodramatic stuck up drama queen. She doesn’t even go to class anymore, and I bet she’s going to fail them too. I hope Dr Rybicki turns this around on her and sues her for libel and defamation of character. It’d be what she deserves for trying to get a decent man fired from a job he loves and does extremely well.

  12. From what I understand, this student doesn’t believe she did anything wrong and has no intention of dropping her case. Any ostracization she experiences is a result of her own actions. The other students in Dr. Rybicki’s classes are suffering more than she is. Why don’t we file civil action against her for what her actions are costing us in education? I’ve been in class with her. I know how disruptive she can be.

  13. @appalled if you were in the class then you know he didn’t slam it shut on her hand multiple times. He didn’t even shut it on her hand one time.

    Why are you lying for this girl?

  14. Since this has all happened, what has happened to the student?? Seems to me like something should have happened to her as well for being very disrespectful to the professor.

  15. It seems amazing her friends see this differently

  16. VSU Grad Student

    Well said, Andrew! Future employers will not only find out that she is argumentative and disruptive, but they will see that she is more concerned with Facebook or Twitter than being productive, which is generally frowned upon.

    For anyone who HASN’T read this student’s thoughts about social networking sites being a problem in college, check this out hahaha: http://www.valdosta.edu/massmedia/digitaljournalism/tech_kb42810.html

  17. Wow.

    I’m assuming her mass media relations major indicates she is pursuing a career in broadcasting.

    Too bad. Her career ended before it even started.

    The second employers google her name and see this litigious clusterf*ck is the second her resume goes into the dump pile. Nobody wants a new hire that is this infamous – there will always be some candidate who doesn’t show up on google (or one who might even be recognized for their talents/service) and won’t go to the cops at the drop of a hat.

    …or laptop cover.

  18. 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.

  19. VSU Grad Student

    I don’t know how this girl can live with herself, and I hope she is thoroughly embarrassed. I hope this is resolved soon and Dr. Rybicki can get back to his life.
    I also hope VSU realizes that they are not going to be prepared for the inevitable backlash if he were not reinstated, as this story has received national attention. Remember that little freedom of speech incident withe Dr. Zaccari??

  20. I feel that the student should not have had the laptop closed on her hand. A professor should never touch a student or their property, directly or indirectly, without the student’s permission. The students, however, should be mature enough to follow the rules of each individual professor. With that being said, I don’t feel as if it should matter what a student does on his or her laptop in class if it does not cause a disruption. If they want to be known as a student who didn’t pay attention in class I am all for it. I know what I am here for and I’m sure others don’t mind if other people want to help make them look good.
    What should have been done was a quiet ask to leave the room for the day from the professor. Now, the best solution would be for both parties to apologize, and move on. No serious damage was done at the time so no need for any serious consequences. I think that anger and embarrassment was a major part in the students’ decision to press criminal charges. This should be a lesson learned to all.

  21. Dr. Rybicki for Humanitarian of the Year!

    Paid suspension is better than no pay at all, but still, claims of battery are ridiculous. Personally, knowing both parties involved, I do not think Dr. Rybicki should have to deal with the over exaggerated claims of an over dramatic, self-centered, morally compromised student. Dr. Rybicki had a great start at this institution and should have the opportunity to have a better than great finish (In the not so near future I might add).

  22. This whole situation is not really the instructor’s fault, considering he REALLY didn’t do anything that bad. However, things like this are a direct result of, and will continue because of, VSU giving their professors way, way too much power. I’ve had instructors who, very literally, run their classroom like it is their own personal kingdom. When “they” are in the room, everyone else bends to their will. The sad thing is, I’m not even slightly exaggerating, and that is just moronic. We are paying for the services of teachers. That is IT, nothing more. They REALLY should not have ANY right to tell a student that they can’t have a laptop in class and what websites they can and cannot look at. They chose their profession, and their profession is to be a teacher that ONLY has a job if students exist and pay for their services. This is not elementary school, where they send us to the corner or take away recess because we are being “bad.” We pay, they teach. That’s it. What we want to do in their class SHOULD be our decision, not theirs. THAT is the REAL issue here, not that some professor closed his student’s laptop on her hands. That is merely a symptom of the disease. The REAL problem is that VSU gives professors so much power that he actually thought that he had some “right” to do this!

  23. appalled by this article

    Why didn’t the article mention that he slammed it shut multiple times on her hand or that she has x-rays to prove that it was broken? If they want to print the story, then print the whole truth. I was in the class when it happened.

  24. I just wanted to say that this received more national attention when it was debated early this morning on the Fox News Channel show called “The Red Eye” at about 3:30 AM on 4/7/2011. It is just amazing that this is such a hotly debated topic. From reading the article, he did nothing wrong. A lot of teachers include common courtesy clauses in the syllabus at the beginning of the semester from which some teachers ask students to review and sign for the consent that they understand and will abide by the rules. This is so petty. It should definitely be resolved so the teacher can get back to doing what he loves to do: teach. The silver lining is that Valdosta State is getting some sort of national attention, even if it might be somewhat negative.

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