BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A petition is calling on Indiana University to take action against a lecturer accused of verbally abusing a McDonald's employee with mental disabilities.
The aftermath was caught on video by people in line at the restaurant.
They posted it online, and it has been shared more than 1,000 times.
Since it went viral, the IU Neurodiversity Coalition created a petition to get IU leaders involved.
That petition was delivered on Monday.
IU sent us a statement saying, “Indiana University is aware of the off-campus incident involving an IU employee and the associated social media response. University leaders have heard from individuals engaged in or concerned about the matter and are taking steps to learn more.”
We are choosing not to name the professor in question due to the fact she has not been charged or reprimanded for her actions.
However, she did respond to our requests for an interview.
"I regret that my use of the term 'retarded' offended people," said the professor. "I did not abbreviate it and it was not directed at the cashier on duty. I had no intention of offending people and sincerely apologize. I should note that I have received a number of awards for my work with diversity groups at IU over the years."
As the faculty adviser of the IU Neurodiversity Coalition, Nejla Routsong was appalled by what other people are saying happened.
“I really do feel that this is an anomaly as far as IU faculty’s behavior off campus,” said Routsong.
She and student member Emmy Helfrich hope the university takes action.
“I believe that they should investigate the incident and have a sit down with the lecturer,” said Helfrich.
They hope the petition and posts on social media raise awareness to this issue as a whole. The group says it’s rare someone stands up to this behavior.
“I think that’s why maybe this petition has gotten so much attention," said Routsong. "And why people are so motivated to act and they want something done. Because usually nothing happens and that’s not right.”
IU police said they first heard about this case from the professor herself.
She claims she is getting death threats and hate mail.