Tennessee State University professor sacked after disturbing video shows him shouting at student
Professor of history Robert Evins Pickard was caught on camera screaming in a student's face before kicking him out of class. In the video, which has gained widespread traction on social media, Pickard can be heard yelling, "What is your name?" at the student. Then he shouts, “Get out! You have failed this course, whatever your name is! Out! Out!”
Pickard's employment with the university has been terminated, the university announced in a statement on Tuesday, November 1. The statement released by the university on its official Twitter page reads, “The University is aware of the incident identified in the video clip being distributed in the media, including on social media. TSU does not tolerate unprofessional behavior in its classrooms or otherwise directed at students. This incident runs afoul of the standard of behavior we expect from those charged with teaching and serving as role models for our students. The University has taken swift action, including personnel action, to address this incident and the faculty member shown in the video was immediately removed from the classroom and has been terminated.”
However, Pickard claims that he resigned from the university following the incident and is now officially retired. He expressed his deep regret for what happened in the classroom to local station WSMV. “I have been under pressure lately, and I have been frustrated with students who pay attention to their cellphones and laptops, then wonder why they get low grades. But that does not excuse my behavior. I apologized to the students and offered my resignation. I am now retired, as I had planned anyway. Please respect my privacy, it is over now,” he remarked.
However, according to WSMV, several university students claimed that Pickard has yelled at students in the past, but this is the first time it has become public. According to his page on the university website, Pickard "primarily researches prominent Tennessee political and entertainment figures." In 1976, he received his Bachelor of Arts from Middle Tennessee University, and in 1978, he earned his Master of Arts from Eastern Michigan University. They were both in history. “He has been a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines and a United Nations volunteer in Somalia,” the page said.