My question involves criminal law for the state of: North Carolina. Im in a very unusual situation and I asked the Criminal Magistrate of Raleigh, where I live about it, this weekend. He said he didnt know what to do! You can imagine, if he doesnt know, how I am supposed to know?!
The problem arose on the 2nd day of class, last week at NCSU, in Raleigh. On the first day, Monday, apparently the instructor noticed that I had the wrong prerequisite, which was Survey of American English. Instead, I had Survey of English. (from 700-1850, GB). So he had emailed me and suggested I drop his class and add some other class.
I had not read the email. By the way: I have since emailed the professor a reply and a few of the administrators, and none of them have even opened the emails, since we have an announcement system in our NCSU.EDU email which would let me know they had.
But I innocently strolled into class ready to talk about the paper. Its a 5week course, which is extremely abbreiviated, since they are usually about 3 months during the fall and spring. Everyday is very intense, but I prepared in advance and had already read half the book we were writing the first paper on.
The instructor freaked out that I had showed up. He dragged me out of class and began to berate me in the hall. I misunderstood his attempts to intimidate me. Instead I assumed that he was upset because of the prerequisite and curriculum issues. In that regard (but very little else--lol) he was within his rights. So I left, during class time, to go to registration and records and change the status of my enrollment to Audit. That would let me continue to attend the course but the instructor wouldnt be required to give me a grade and I wouldnt get credit toward graduation.
Its a bit of a disappointment; but I supposed that it was my fault for missing the prereq. I later called my advisor and she is on vacation until July.
Reg and Records was OK with everything: it was the only second day of class, no problem with deadlines. They changed it immidiatly and I came back to class, worried more about wasting my 700$ of non-refundable tuition than anything.
The prof freaked out that I had returned to class. He began yelling at me in front of the other students present. He waved his fists, waved some heavy books. Made extremely deragatory remarks.
I have looked up the definition of "abuse" and I think he fits it: Abuse, to physically or mentally harm, harass, initmidate, or interfere with the personal liberty of another, causing substancial emotional distress by continued harassment.
I would say that he was "abusing" me, at that point. Very definatly it was harassment, although the Criminal Magistrate asked me pointedly if he had brandished a weapon such as a gun. He did not. He also didnt specifically threaten to "kill" me, but I would say that the behavior was definatly out of order and very personally threatening both physically and emotionally.
He made me go discuss the matter with the head of the graduate studies department of the English Dept and I found out later that this was because he was only administrator who wasnt on vacation. I think the general idea was to just gang up on me and bully me, since neither one of them would accept my paperwork from registration and records and kept threatening to "have me disenrolled" ; which is a power that no teacher technically has, over a student.
Finally I went back to class. Its hard to believe that all that happened on the second day of class, but it did. The class time is a bit longer becuase of the shortened 5 week course. The instructor also talked about having me "disenrolled". My reaction was disbelief, since I know they dont have that power. Also, its embarassing and humiliating to have instructors behave this way, so you try to deny it to yourself.
I explained that he couldnt "have me disenrolled" and that maybe he misunderstood the limits of the powers of the English Dept in the matter and he should call Registration and Record directly to ask them personally? Then I said see you tomorrow and I left.
Apparently he did just that since he had the Campus Police waiting for me on the first day of class. He told them some story about how I had been "asked to leave". I think he basically must have made up a lie, just like he lied about trying to have me disenrolled. That simply isnt possible.
I explained to them that everything was in order, showed them my Audit papers and that I had paid my tuition. They then gave me a warning for trespassing, which means that I have to write an appeal to the Director of Campus Police to even be allowed back on campus to use the Library or the Gym, never mind this instructor's crummy class.
It was extremely annoying. Changing your enrollment to an Audit is NOT a crime! However, the way that instructor spoke to me in public for a protracted length of time, on the second day of class definatly was harassment. I think you could make a case that he misused the Campus Police also..........but my appeal will have to be granted before I can even return to campus to discuss it!
I wanted to ask the Criminal Magistrate if I could press charges for Harassment, through the County, since if someone spoke to me like that ANYWHERE else besides in thompkins hall, I would call 911.
I really feel extremely upset. Now I cant even go to campus and use the resources such as the Library; what about my tuition?! I have written a 3 page letter to the Campus Police asking for their warning to be lifted. I also wrote a 5 page letter to the head of the English Dept (who is on vacation, unfortunatly).
The Criminal Magistrate told me I should try to file a police report of harassment through the Campus Police. They will then transmit it directly to h im at the State and County Court. From there, he will be able to press charges of harassment against the prof.
My question is: what exactly are my rights? IF I go to the Campus Police to make a "police report" of harassment, they are going to be in an awkward position, since this guy is an instructor. He already misused the campus police once in this matter. They are going to be predisposed not to believe me.
Should I ask them to interview the other students who were witnesses? Does it really matter that the instructor didnt explicitly threaten to "kill me"? He obviously intended to do all the things in that "abuse" definition.