Graphic showing progression of petition signatures.

Graphic showing progression of petition signatures. Graphic by Kat Joseph/The Paisano

After UTSA officials removed Anita Moss, a human anatomy and physiology professor, from her classes last week, more than 600 people have signed an online petition in hopes that the university reinstates her.

Kimberly Andrews Espy, provost and vice president for academic affairs, sent an email Jan. 20 to UTSA faculty stating that Moss, the professor who had UTSA police escort a student out of her class last semester, was under investigation again.

        “Today, college and university leadership became aware of a new concern regarding classroom management by Dr. Anita Moss, the faculty member involved in a classroom incident in November 2018 on the UTSA Main Campus,” Espy said in the email. “A preliminary inquiry revealed that despite persistent and substantive intervention, there remain persistent concerns with Dr. Moss’ classroom management that warrant her relief from all instructional responsibilities at this time.”

        The Nov. 12 incident resulted in an investigation that led to Moss’ suspension and required completion of classroom management training through UTSA’s Teaching and Learning Services. Moss completed the training and began teaching again this semester.

     Dr. Heather Shipley, senior vice provost and the dean of university college, is conducting the investigation to address whether Moss followed the expectations given to her after the incident in November. While the new investigation is conducted, Moss will not be teaching her courses. Some of Moss’ students objected to her removal.

Vivian Hernandez, a junior public health major, was initially registered for Moss’ class, but is now taking human anatomy and physiology with Dr. David Senseman, who has taken over Moss’ classes.

“They did it really quick, without any preparation. They did not give a lot of thought into what the students would need to transition regarding materials like iclicker, the registration for Mastering and overall having to redo assignments through that portal,” Hernandez said. “There are people in this class who specifically registered for a class that was not with [Senseman] due to his teaching style; it’s a lot of getting used to his teaching style.”

Jenna Wells created an online petition called “Reinstate Moss” through change.org. A comment coinciding the petition explains her objective.

“Professor Moss is being relieved of her instructional duties due to an incident that occured in her classroom last semester. The university ensured us that the events from last semester have been resolved; however, they are resurfacing as she is being deemed unfit to lead and control her classroom,” Wells said.

“However, we the students disagree and would like to see her reinstated to her position as our A&P 1 professor. We have all moved passed the events from last semester and find it unfair that the the university waited until the week after school started to dismiss her without an explanation to her classes. We chose Dr. Moss as our professor for a reason and would really appreciate any support for her.”

As of Jan. 28, the petition received 645 signatures. Moss has consistently received high instructor evaluations from students. In the Summer 2018 semester, the most recent semester available on Moss’s Bluebook page, Moss received an instructor evaluation of 4.8 out of 5.0 with 60 students responding. In the Spring 2018 semester, Moss taught four classes and received instructor evaluations ranging from 4.4 to 4.7 out of 5.0 with 114 to 150 students responding.

In response to the petition, Espy stated that the investigation will determine how the university will respond. “We appreciate and value the input from the campus community,” Espy said in an email to a Paisano inquiry. “Our response to this matter will be based on the outcome of the investigation.”

Moss’ Spring 2019 syllabus lists disrespectful behaviors as disregarding the request to stop talking, sleeping in class, sitting in class with headphones on or earbuds in, reclining in class or placing legs or feet on classroom furniture. This list of disrespectful behaviors was not included in Moss’ Summer 2018 syllabus.

“You are expected to behave in a mature professional manner that shows respect and promotes a good learning environment for each and every one of us,” Moss said in her Spring 2019 syllabus. “It is discourteous to talk while I am lecturing or while a student is asking or answering a question because it prevents others from hearing what is being said.”

The results of the investigation have not been released. Faculty senate president Emily Bonner said she had no comment on behalf of the senate.

“We are committed to our students’ educational progress and success, and the decision to relieve Dr. Moss of her teaching duties pending the outcome of the investigation was taken in the best interest of everyone involved,” Espy said in an email response to a Paisano inquiry. “There was not a specific situation that occured in the classroom.”

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