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Posted under: News

Fort Valley State University Student Says Professor Made Tasteless Comment About Trayvon Martin During Class

The student said the incident has left her frustrated and enraged and she expects the school to take disciplinary action against the professor.

Officials at an HBCU in Georgia are investigating a student’s allegation that a professor trivialized the killing of Trayvon Martin by asking the student to remove a hoodie sweater because they weren’t going out for “skittles” and “sweet tea.”

In a Twitter thread that went viral this week, a student, identified as Janei Dortilus, accused a professor at Fort Valley State University of making light of the situation, dishonoring Martin.

Martin was gunned down in February 2012 by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who ignored police orders to stop pursuing the teen and was ultimately acquitted of charges due to Florida’s “stand your ground” law, CNN reported. The unarmed 17-year-old was found carrying only an Arizona Iced Tea and a pack of Skittles candy.

The professor was later identified by a separate Twitter user in replies to the thread as Regina C. Butts. According to the university’s website, Butts is an assistant professor and chair of the business administration and economics academic department.


— The Queen Goya (@dominiloka) February 16, 2021

Butts, an alumna of the university, previously worked as a business credit analyst at GE Capital where she helped support a team with processing and financial analysis for deals as large as $5 million. 

University representatives confirmed that “a thorough investigation” has been launched into the issue, according to NewsOne. 

“We take our students’ experience very seriously and want to promote the highest level of student success in a positive environment,” the spokesperson said.

As attention on the student’s experience grew, academics joined in on the conversation and advised Dortilus to take her issue up to the administrative level.

The student revealed that she reported the incident to several channels, including making a complaint with the dean of students, the provost, the vice president of academic affairs and taking up a notice with the office of FVSU President Paul Jones.

In her message to the university president, Dortilus said that the incident has left her feeling “rage,” “repugnance,” and “frustration.” She asked that the school take disciplinary action against the professor and condemn her actions.

“This unfathomable behavior should not be tolerated at my university, or any institution for that matter,” she wrote. “I refuse to sit back and let ignorance make its way into my peers and I academic careers.”

Open for a surprise 😘 https://t.co/BrmS2Wz925 pic.twitter.com/N32xCSz0ZI

— Janei✨ (@janeithedoll) February 16, 2021
As Blavity previously reported, the HBCU found itself in the middle of a scandal just two years ago after a former assistant to the president was linked to a prostitution ring. Alecia Johnson allegedly helped students looking for money to pay for their Alpha Kappa Alpha, a Greek-lettered sorority, pledge fees by finding customers who would pay them for performing sexual acts. One of the paying clients was a former Fort Valley official named Charles Jones.

Ultimately, Johnson pleaded guilty to six counts of prostitution as a part of a plea bargain, news station 13 WMAZ reported. Two other people associated with the scandal also took plea deals.
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