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Florida Professor Fired After Students Notice ‘College’ Porn Bookmark In Zoom Screen Share

by : Julia Banim on : 30 Apr 2020 14:51
Professor Fired After Students Notice 'College' Porn Bookmark In Zoom Screen ShareTikTok

A professor from the University of Miami has been fired after students noticed a pornographic bookmark tab on his computer.

Professor John Peng Zhang had been teaching a business analytics seminar via Zoom, during which he shared his screen with those in attendance.

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Several students participating in the class noticed a bookmark on Zhang’s shared screen entitled ‘Busty College girl fu…’. Screenshots and videos were taken, with one student even uploading now-deleted footage to TikTok, where it gained hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of hours.

University of MiamiTikTok

As reported by student newspaper The Miami Hurricane, Professor Zhang was unaware of the situation at the time, later addressing the matter with students in a separate seminar, where he stated:

I don’t know how it happened. I didn’t see it, I’m pretty sure everybody else did… My apologies to the class.

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Professor Zhang reportedly later emailed students where he stated that he was ‘investigating’ the incident and asked the class to refrain from sharing pictures. However, by that point, images and video footage had been widely circulated online.

Professor Zhang reportedly went on to teach a few more classes before he stopped showing up. One class was left without a teacher for approximately 20 minutes before receiving an email from Robert Plant, the chair of the business analytics department, explaining that class had been cancelled.

University of MiamiWikipedia

The University of Miami has since confirmed that Professor Zhang is no longer under their employment in a statement:

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The University of Miami aggressively investigates all complaints of inappropriate behaviour or sexual harassment.

After receiving a complaint through the University’s ethics hotline, the incident was investigated by the Office of the Provost, Title IX investigator and Miami Herbert Business School.

University of MiamiInes Hegedus-Garcia/Flickr

Some students have since expressed guilt about Professor Zhang having lost his position following the incident, with the student who uploaded the viral TikTok stating:

I felt bad about the attention it was getting. I didn’t want him to lose his job. I thought he would be fine. I felt really bad for him.

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Freshman student Ethan Hartz, who was present when the bookmark was shown, said:

I had friends sharing it with me from other schools who saw it.[My] first thought was this is super funny. I felt guilty afterward for even sharing it with my close friends.

Junior marketing major, Jade Johnson, said:

This is someone’s livelihood. I told my friends, this guy could lose his job.

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However, other students have felt uncomfortable about the situation, with freshman Samantha Hill saying:

It’s hard not to think he’s looking at you like that. I wouldn’t turn my camera on. I don’t want him to look at me.

University of MiamiTikTok

A petition on Change.org to get Professor Zhang rehired has gained over 980 signatures at the time of writing.

The petition reads as follows:

People make mistakes, are sexual beings, and should not be fired when no true porn was shared. We no longer live in the 18th century and individuals are allowed to have a personal, sexual life. This was obviously a mistake.

It is a double standard to protect the atrocities that happen in the student body (esp Greek life) and cover them while a professor who has bills to pay as an ‘actual adult’. Firing from the position was not the appropriate action and should have been taken with less dramatic disciplinary action.

It is also against current state laws to record lectures without the permission of professors.

Professor Zhang’s online CV reveals he had worked as a business school lecturer at the Coral Gables, Florida, campus since August 2019, after holding positions at both the University of Oregon and Florida International University.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Florida, Porn, Zoom

Credits

The Miami Hurricane and 1 other
  1. The Miami Hurricane

    UM professor fired after TikTok of pornographic bookmark goes viral

  2. Change.org

    Rehire fired professor from the University of Miami