A UCF professor is on paid administrative leave after posting a parody video to a YouTube channel on Sept. 17, according to a Tuesday email from UCF Communications Coordinator Anthony Moore.
Kollbe Ahn, an assistant professor in UCF’s Department of Chemistry, posted a skit-like video to YouTube where he and an unnamed individual acted out a formal complaint made by a student to the chemistry department.
The video, “Kollbe’s Anger Translator,” was posted to the YouTube channel "american college boys" on Sept. 17, and began with Ahn sitting at his desk with an anonymous man labeled as his “anger translator.”
In the original 3-minute long video, the unnamed individual translated Ahn’s passive statements into more harsh or angrier ones, but the video has since been edited to 51 seconds to cut out the translations. In both versions, the video opens with text on the screen stating Ahn had been “falsely accused for not teaching chemistry in his chemistry class.”
In the comments section below the video, a channel administrator commented that the group was advised to take down the video during the university's investigation into the complaint made by the student.
Ahn said in a second video posted on Sept. 20 — titled “Consequence of the posting the satire video of Kollbe’s Anger translator; where’s the 1st Amendment?” — that he is not allowed back on campus, and not allowed to speak with students after being escorted off campus the same day the second video was posted.
“I thought that was a satire of a situation, a funny video like ‘Saturday Night Live,’” Ahn said in the second video. “But UCF didn’t see it that way."
Anna Seo, senior biology major, started a petition on Change.org on the same day Ahn posted the second video to his students. The petition is to "reverse the unjust suspension of Ahn." It now has over 800 signatures on it and counting.
"I felt like we had to make a statement and get together," Seo said. "It’s not just one person that’s concerned. We're all concerned."
Seo said the class now has a new professor, Seth Elsheimer, an associate professor and associate department chair. He gave the class a new syllabus and is requiring a new textbook to be used, she said. Seo said Elsheimer also introduced a new curriculum into the course.
“We all feel that this is not what we signed up for,” Seo said.
Seo is not the only student who voiced her concerns. Alisha Nayee, senior biomedical sciences major, said she thinks the university took this too far.
“I just want my professor back,” Nayee said. “You know we're a month in, and it’s really unfair to change the syllabus.”
Nayee said she thinks UCF should have banned Ahn from YouTube instead of taking it to this extreme, because now it is affecting the whole class. This is the third time Nayee is taking this class.
“To be honest, this makes me want to transfer,” Nayee said.
Seo and Nayee both said they are not going to stop fighting for Ahn.
Although Seo and other students have already acquired the new book, Nayee said she doesn't have the money to buy the new textbook. Seo said she paid $141 to rent the textbook.
"We all want Dr. Ahn back," Seo said. "We just feel like the YouTube video wasn't related to our class really, it was something he did on the side."
Students are now trading class time for study groups instead.The students also formed a GroupMe, to help regulate times and dates to meet up with tutors. As of now, the sessions will be during class time to protest.
Marial Butler, senior biology bachelor of science major, said the study group gives her the ability to share all the resources student have.
"No one has the textbooks so the study group is where we are able to put our knowledge together, you know share what resources we have from previous chemistry courses," Butler said.
Students like Butler have not attended class but have attended the study groups.
Butler said she feels that Elsheimer goes over the material fast and she won't benefit from the class.
“I haven’t gone to class because I feel the study groups are more affective,” Butler said. “I tried going to class with our new professor and it did not help me.”
The study groups have a tutor that is working for free. The students hope to eventually put enough money together to pitch in to pay the tutors back for their time.
Butler said, “I found that working with my peers and working with tutors, is a much more efficient way to learn information and to make sure we are all on the same page."
This story has been updated. Check back for more updates.