A professor at Pasadena City College stirs up controversy after allegations that he slapped a student. A campus is divided over Professor Mark McQueen's leave. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Pasadena for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.
A professor at a Southern California community college is on paid leave after he allegedly slapped a student in class, officials said.
English professor Mark McQueen was discussing metaphors with his class at Pasadena City College Halloween night, when a male student suddenly stood up from his desk.
“With fists clenched, his right fist brought up halfway,” Professor Roger Marheine, president of the PCC Faculty Association, said of the student.
Marheine said his colleague recently underwent cataract surgery on both eyes and suffers from heart and liver problems.
McQueen “said several times today, ‘I felt threatened. I felt afraid,’” Marheine said.
The school’s legal counsel told NBC4 in a written statement that McQueen has been placed on leave “to protect the integrity of the investigation.”
“It has been alleged,” Gail Cooper said in a statement, “that Mr. McQueen struck a student.”
But Marheine said other students in the class painted a different picture.
According to accounts, the student screamed obscenities at McQueen, at one point allegedly yelling, “I can kick your (expletive), old man.”
Marheine said McQueen raised his left hand to stop the student from coming any further.
“He did touch the student. The student basically walked into his hand,” Marheine said.
The alleged slapping is not the first time Pasadena Community College professors have made headlines as of late.
Last month, the college’s so-called “Porn Professor” resigned after admitting to having inappropriate relations with a student. Another professor has been accused of sexual harassment.