Students filed into WALC 2007 silent and straight-faced. As they found their seats, they were met by Ayse Ciftci, the department head of the College of Education.
The class was Learning and Motivation, a class for education students previously taught by John Froiland. Students settled in, knowing that a discussion about their ex-professor was about to begin.
Ciftci introduced herself and asked students to explain how they felt about the domestic violence allegations against Froiland.
“I’m happy to meet you, but this is sad,” Ciftci said. “Whatever you're feeling is normal, and I share all these emotions. If you are willing, describe in one word how you are feeling right now.”
“Irritated,” freshman Greg Hudgins III said.
“Angry,” junior Katherine Bobb said.
Professors and teaching assistants in the room echoed these opinions and shared how unexpected the allegations are to them.
“None of us could possibly have imagined that something like this might have happened,” Ala Samarapungavan, an education professor, said. “If any of us would have seen anything, we would have reported it right away.”
“He's worked here for many years. This was not expected,” Helen Patrick, another education professor, said. “Nothing gave us the slightest pause to even wonder.”
Froiland was arrested last week after allegedly beating his wife with the leg of a chair while his son was locked in a dog cage. Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty didn’t specify how long Froiland will be on paid administrative leave, but police records show he’s been banned from campus for one year.
Because Froiland is prohibited from being on campus or communicating through Brightspace, the class will be taught by professors Samarapungavan, Patrick and Toni Rogat.
Samarapungavan, Rogat, Patrick and Ciftci met with Learning and Motivation students on Tuesday to discuss how the class will run without Froiland at the head.
Ciftci explained a few changes to the syllabus for students to note, like class moving to fully in-person rather than continuing bi-weekly asynchronous classes, the removal of readings and videos created by Froiland in Brightspace, and due date extensions for papers.
“There is a psychological effect this has on all of us, and some of our decisions are taken in light of that,” Ciftci said. “Right now, we're focusing on this class and how you can complete this class and feel as safe as possible.”
Ciftci continued to apologize that the class is to be restructured, and she empathized with students’ feelings about the allegations.
“We care about you, and we are so sorry that this is happening,” Ciftci said. “If there are any other ways we can support you, reach out.”