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Los Angeles Times, 10 February 1995
Cal State Fullerton Graduate Files Suit Over Spanking
By Rene Lynch
SANTA ANA -- An African American graduate of Cal State Fullerton filed a discrimination lawsuit Thursday alleging he was spanked on the bare behind by a white professor as punishment for dropping his class last year.
The lawsuit filed by Keary Johns, 24, claims racism played a role in the April 27 incident in which Prof. Emeritus Julian Foster admitted striking Johns with a ruler as the student bent over a chair. Foster, however, has denied race was a factor and has called the incident a joke that went too far.
The suit alleges Foster violated the anti-slavery provisions of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Foster had absolute authority over Johns and "occupied a similar position as an owner/master to his black slave" when he struck Johns, according to the suit.
Shortly after the incident, school officials said "appropriate action" was taken against Foster, but declined to elaborate except to say Foster would not be teaching at the school any time soon.
Johns, who subsequently graduated in June, said he was trying to drop Foster's political science class without incurring a failing grade when Foster insisted the student would first have to submit to a swatting.
Foster, has said he was only trying to reprimand Johns for not taking his schoolwork seriously when he playfully suggested a spanking as punishment. Foster, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, said in an earlier interview he was shocked when Johns dropped his sweat pants. Playing along with the joke Foster admitted lightly "swatting" Johns, but said he deeply regrets doing so.
Copyright (c) 1995 Times Mirror Company
Previous: 4 August 1994: State Rejects Student's Claim in CSUF Spanking Incident
Follow-up: 30 March 1996: $35,000 Settlement in College Swatting Suit
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