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Ball State grad sues university over 2020 classroom confrontation with police

When Sultan Benson wouldn't switch seats during his marketing class, professor Shaheen Borna called university police on him.

MUNCIE, Ind. — A Ball State University graduate is suing the university, its board of trustees and a professor after a 2020 classroom confrontation with police.

A viral video showed a professor, Dr. Shaheen Borna, calling police on Sultan Benson for refusing to change seats during class in January 2020.

Two officers arrived about 10 minutes later to investigate the complaint. Benson said he was concerned at first that the officers might misunderstand what transpired in the classroom. After hearing the explanation, Benson said the officers didn't understand why the situation escalated to a call to police.

At the time, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns called the incident "a gross error of judgment" and an unwarranted overreaction. Mearns promised better training for the professor, who emailed Benson an apology after the incident. While Borna didn't return to teaching that semester, he is still employed at the university.

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In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, Benson's attorneys claim the incident caused him "extreme emotional distress, mental anguish, psychological trauma, anxiety, pain and suffering, and/or other forms of losses or costs."

The suit claims the incident resulted in Benson suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, which required psychological therapy to treat. He is seeking compensatory damages, plus court costs and legal fees for filing the suit.

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