Former USI professor speaks out in response to student petition

Updated: Oct. 14, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A former adjunct professor at the University of Southern Indiana is speaking out, in response to an online petition created by USI students, supporting a fellow classmate after the student was asked to leave campus due to his Tourette Syndrome.

[Previous: Petition claims USI student forced off campus because of medical condition]

“My symptoms started when I was five, and I’m 63 now," says Timothy Smith, a professor with 25 years of teaching experience.

Smith also has Tourette Syndrome.

“When I was much younger," says Smith, "I had a lot of screaming and yelling and grunting and shouting and arm movements.”

Smith says while every person with Tourette Syndrome experiences symptoms differently, he can relate to Seth Pressler.

Pressler is the USI freshman who was asked to leave campus earlier this week, due to what medical professionals call tics.

Smith says he is disappointed in the university’s decision to remove Pressler.

“It really kind of amazed me that an institution of higher education, somebody really doesn’t understand either Tourette’s or the implications regarding the ADA," says Smith.

The university released a statement Tuesday afternoon, in response to the online petition, but Smith had one word to describe the comments from school officials.

“Unacceptable," says Smith.

He went on to also share a message for Seth.

“I would say don’t let this get you down," says Smith, “because it can be resolved.”

USI President Dr. Ronald S. Rochon also addresses the petition.

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