A Kennesaw State University has placed an academic adviser on administrative leave while the school investigates a student’s viral 30-second video of his interaction with her.
In the video, Abby Dawson, the school’s director of advising and internships in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management, accused the student of “harassment” for apparently sitting in the room and waiting to speak with his academic adviser.
Kevin Bruce, a rising senior at the Georgia school, uploaded the video of the interaction on Wednesday night.
The video begins with the adviser — initially identified by Bruce and other students as Dawson — walking into the room and telling Bruce that he was harassing another adviser, Margaret Tilley.
“I’m not harassing no one,” Bruce said.
“You are,” Dawson replied.
“I’m not,” Bruce continued.
Dawson threatened to call security and told Bruce that he could fill out a form “just like everyone else does.”
Bruce responded that he was just waiting to talk to someone.
“Sitting here until someone is available is harassing them,” Dawson said.
In his tweet, Bruce called the adviser “rude.”
In a statement, the University said that Dawson was placed on administrative leave pending “comprehensive” investigation into the matter, which could take two weeks.
“Kennesaw State is dedicated to providing a positive academic experience for all students,” said Ken Harmon, KSU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs said in a statement. “We also have a responsibility to provide all students, faculty and staff with a fair and thorough review process.”
In an interview with Atlanta’s Fox affiliate WAGA, Bruce explained that he was trying to ask his exercise science department adviser a question and was told to come back in an hour when she would be available.
Bruce said he decided to wait instead of leaving and coming back. He began to record the interaction based on a previous experience with Dawson, he said.
“Abby Dawson has an attitude, that’s why I knew exactly when to record her,” Bruce told the Fox affiliate.
“I waited for a second to see if she was going to call security, because there was no reason for her to call security,” he added.
It is unclear what occurred before Bruce began recording, but the incident stirred up simmering frustration on Kennesaw’s campus about the state of advising in that department.
For others not on campus, the incident highlighted broader problems with the higher education system, spawning the hashtag #ItsBiggerThanKSU.
Dawson has not said anything publicly since the video went viral.
A woman who identified herself as Dawson’s mother told The Washington Post that her daughter could not comment until after the investigation is complete. The woman asked not to be identified by name.
Other students have voiced complaints about their interactions with Dawson.
Bruce also tweeted about another tense email exchange with Dawson:
Bruce said Friday that he hasn’t yet met with representatives of the university about his problems with the advising program.
[This post has been updated.]