College investigating alleged assault of student by professor

American River College [ARC] administrators are investigating allegations that a professor smashed the cellphone of a student working on the campaign of a conservative candidate for student government.

Musorivschi was allegedly assaulted when campaigning for student trustee candidate Luke Otterstad, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.

The allegations were made by Vladimir Musorivschi, a volunteer on Luke Otterstad’s campaign for student trustee.

According to Musorivschi’s version of events, Anthropology Professor Frank Araujo swatted his cell phone out of his hands and smashed it onto the ground during a verbal altercation over whether or not gay marriage should be legal.

Carlos Reyes, interim dean for the behavioral and social sciences at ARC, confirmed to Campus Reform last month that an investigation is taking place.

“I am currently investigating the situation,” he said. “With that being said the college has a process and that process is being followed. I do not comment on ongoing investigations so there is not a lot of details I can give you.  Obviously we take the environment on campus seriously so that is something that is being looked at.”

Musorivschi, who spoke with Campus Reform, described a situation in which the professor reached over and knocked his cell phone to the ground when he threatened to call the police.

“I said no you are not even arguing the right way you are just screaming at me about something,” Musorivschi told Campus Reform. “[W]hen I said I was going to call the police he just smashed my phone, basically assaulted me and the phone went like fifteen feet and smashed into pieces.”

In an email to Campus Reform, Araujo would not confirm or deny whether the alleged altercation or assault had taken place.

“Not being a student and being unfamiliar with both the slates [SIC] and their issues, I'm unable to make any cogent remarks,” wrote Araujo.

The ARC campus police have not responded to requests for comment by Campus Reform on the incident.

The alleged altercation is only the most recent episode in a campaign for student government that has been fraught with controversy since the beginning.

In a possible violation of school regulations professors actually changed their public Facebook profile pictures late last month to anti-Otterstad slogans while the campus LGBT club held a rally and leaflet drive against his campaign. Otterstead is an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.

ARC election rules forbid professors from engaging in negative campaigns and bans the use of school resources in student elections.

Otterstad, who lost the election, told Campus Reform he has filed an official election complaint with the chancellor of the school which challenges the validity of the election due to a discrepancy in the vote count.

"I am challenging the election results because the numbers released don't add up, professor's violated election rules by actively campaigning against me, and the District has a history of violating student voting rights," said Otterstad.

Otterstad was part a lawsuit settled in 2010 against ARC which also involved a student election controversy.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter.: @TimPDion

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