Oxnard College professor put on leave after viral videos emerge of classroom altercation


VCCCD archive photo of Oxnard College. Photo by Clepsy Hernandez

By Marissa Roberts

A series of three viral TikTok videos surfaced Friday morning showing Oxnard College Professor Michael Abram continually criticizing Karla Salazar, a hearing impaired student of the Ventura Community College District, over Zoom. The VCCCD has announced that Abram has been placed on paid administrative leave.

In the videos, Abram appears to be frustrated due to a lack of response to him from Salazar. Another student, Abygail Aranda, steps in to clarify that the reason is because Salazar is “hard-of-hearing” and requires a translator to relay messages to her. This causes a delay in her responses.

Abram replies by stating, “She’s not paying attention, she’s not trying.”

Abram continues to confront Salazar in front of the class for the duration of the videos. At one point Salazar expresses to Abram that she feels attacked.

Abram responds, “I’m not attacking you, I’m just significantly disappointed in you.”

Details of the incident remain unclear, but it is apparent that Abram and Salazar did not reach an agreement on the matter in the videos and the incident will be investigated.

The VCCCD has issued a statement expressing concern and confirming that they have placed Abram on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the matter.

According to the statement, “This investigative process could take approximately three months, and the District is committed to being thorough and fair.”

There have been many calls on social media for Abram to be terminated or put on leave without pay. The Ventura County Star reported that Abram is a full-time faculty member with tenure.

VCCCD Trustee Diane McKay tweeted Friday evening, “I appreciate the anger behind paid leave but with public employment there are rules we don’t get to ignore no matter what.”

In the VCCCD statement, Oxnard President Luis Sanchez denounced the behavior shown in the videos by the Oxnard professor.

“Oxnard College is wholeheartedly committed to treating all of our students with the utmost respect. We denounce discriminatory behavior or harassment of any kind and we remain deeply resolved to providing a safe and welcoming learning environment for students of all backgrounds,” said Sanchez.

Oxnard College has also released a statement acknowledging the incident and followed in the same tone as Sanchez by denouncing and rejecting the behavior.

Moorpark College President, Dr. Julius O. Sokenu, reaffirmed a similar sentiment in his statement.

“Discrimination and intolerance toward any individual or group is unacceptable in our classes, either on-campus or in a virtual environment. It is our unwavering mission to safeguard and respect all of our students, and we are concerned about what has been on social media over the last several hours,” stated Sokenu.