English instructor Mark McQueen was put on paid administrative leave last week and is under investigation for allegedly punching a student in his class on Halloween, according to college officials.

McQueen is accused of striking a student who was allegedly using slurs and behaving in a hostile manner during a lecture regarding racism in front of his English 1B class, according to Roger Marheine, Faculty Association president and grievance speaker for McQueen.

“A [white] male student stood up from his desk and uttered a number of slurs. Mark was thus in danger of immediate physical harm,” Marheine stated in a letter.

McQueen, who has a number of health issues, was allegedly in the hospital after the event because of stress related illness, according to Marheine.

“Mark was thus in danger of immediate physical harm [from the student’s attempted attack]; Mark has a number of health issues, including an eye surgery,” Marheine said. “If Mark were hit on the left side of his face, he could be blinded. Mark’s safety and security were threatened. The college is responsible for the safety and well being of its faculty and students.”

Marheine defended McQueen via phone interview, saying he was being “bullied” by the college, which was taking extreme measures over the situation.

“Even more alarming is that the college has placed Mark McQueen on administrative leave and in its initial letter effectively put him on house arrest. Sadly, the college continues to pursue a strategy of bullying, a blame the victim tactic,” Marheine said.

General Counsel Gail Cooper said the college must keep McQueen and the student away from each other during the investigation.

“Placing Mr. McQueen on paid administrative leave is a necessary measure to protect the integrity of the investigation and the student complainant and witnesses,” Cooper said. “Mr. McQueen continues in good standing with his regular pay during the investigation, and he and the student are both shielded from any further incident during its course.”

Cooper also argued that Marheine’s public letter to the college was “one-sided,” and a proper investigation was protocol for such matters.

“Notwithstanding Mr. Marheine’s one-sided email, the investigator will investigate both sides of the story and after evaluating all of the evidence, will determine which allegations are sustained and which are not,” Cooper said.

Numerous students commented on the Courier’s Facebook page regarding McQueen’s sudden administrative leave, stating he was a good instructor and it was alarming for anyone to hear about him allegedly attacking a student.

Former Associated Students vice president Anna Torres was shocked to hear of the alleged attack.

“I had him for English 1A! Didn’t pin him for that type of behavior,” she wrote.

McQueen’s investigation is ongoing and he is still on paid administrative leave.

8 Replies to “Instructor on leave for alleged student attack”

  1. There are no charges in this case, and there never were.
    The President’s legal hack has exposed PCC to the chance of nasty litigation, . . . again!

  2. I am glad to see we all argree. Security should have been called to defuse this matter using their superior crisis negotiation skills. I was fortunate to observe them in action onece when guard R.J.K. arrived. What ever happened to him? Is he really selling Herbalife now? What next? Chief P. M. selling Armenian Amway?

  3. I had the same question as angry faculty. Why didn’t someone call campus police and have the student removed from the classroom. If he was shouting slurs and acting in a threatening way, nobody could be sure that he wasn’t a danger to the teacher or other students in the class. It isn’t clear if the instructor raised his hand to protect himself from being hit or he just hit the student because the crazy behavior made him feel threatened. In either case, the student appears to have been the aggressor. In a situation like that, which one would the average person remove from the classroom? My guess is that the majority of people would say the student. However, if you’re part of the Rocha administration, your answer would be–“it has to be the teacher’s fault. Put him on leave and keep him out of the classroom.”

  4. The district’s policy has been to intimidate teachers by escorting them off campus on whatever charge a student happens to make. How embarrassing can that be? Students, however, have no responsibility for the allegation. Mad at a teacher? Call him or her a harasser and YOU win: the teacher’s name is dragged through the press and the student? oh well, let’s protect him by allowing an undeserved anonymity and by letting her continue to threaten other teachers!

    What could have been handled at the department level between student, teacher and a mediator has now been escalated into a potential criminal matter. Any student who stands up in a classroom and shouts “you’re a motherfucker” and “l will kick your ass” is not a victim, but a disturbed individual who lacks self-control and needs to be removed from school. To do otherwise is criminal.

  5. Immediate physical harm? Alleged attack? House arrest?

    Did anyone think to call campus security to investigate this matter? Those trained professionals are equipped with the skills to conduct stress interrogations of hostile subjects, while maintaining the calm of still water.

    Why should the college invest in hiring some gum-shoe private eye when they have such investigative expertise on staff…with stellar training from the likes of the LA Housing Authority?

  6. I have heard of a letter that was signed by many English faculty in response to this. Can the Courier please investigate it and share what was on the letter.
    Thank you.

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