IWU professor and student in videos speak out

By James Stein Sep 24, 2021
Image from Illinois Wesleyan School of Music Website
Image from Illinois Wesleyan School of Music Website

In the September 10 issue of The Argus, it was reported that a student was removed from his classes and, after which, posted several videos to a YouTube channel named “Come and Take it!” That student has now been identified as first-year student Attila Scott Malek. The videos appeared to show Malek student being removed from campus property, and later discussions with administrators about his removal and his subsequent suspension. 


I wish to bring to light the blatant hypocrisy that is the Titan Pledge, where depending on which building you are in, you can either be arrested for violating the Pledge or encouraged to break it,” the 41-year-old student told The Argus. 


According to Illinois Wesleyan, the Titan Pledge is an addendum to the Student Conduct Code. One of the biggest expectations for students is to “wear their washable cloth face mask while around others in indoor spaces including class, campus activities, work, and meetings, regardless of vaccination status.”


“I am still enrolled as a student, but I am suspended for the semester and criminally trespassed from all University owned buildings,” Malek said. 


“Failure to comply with the University’s Student Code of Conduct, which includes the Titan Pledge, may result in consequences detailed in the pledge,” Dean Karla Carney-Hallsaid. Consequences in the pledge include monetary fines, restriction from campus grounds or activities including in-person classes, forfeiture of tuition and fees, probation, suspension in abeyance, suspension or expulsion.


As can be seen in the videos, Malek refused to wear a mask, which prompted the University to have him removed from classes.


Malek said that IWU was biased in how he was treated. 


“According to Dean Carney-Hall, ‘[my] values are different from that of the University.’ I was singled out for my values and punished without due process. I was then arrested in my class for not complying to the school’s mask mandate within the Titan Pledge,” Malek said. 


According to the Bloomington Police Department, no arrests were made. 


“In a virtual meeting, after being arrested from my classroom a few days prior, I was told by Karla Carney-Hall that my violations were so apparent that a judiciary committee hearing wasn’t required. She later added that we can “circle back to due process,” Malek said. 


During a period of interim suspension, according to the University, “a student may be denied access to the residence halls, and/or to the campus (including classes), and to all other University activities or events which the student might otherwise be eligible to participate in or attend.”


Malek went on to remark, “All the while, the School of Music violated the Titan Pledge for an entire year without consequences.”


One of the School of Music’s faculty members, Dr. Sey Ahn, was connected to the Youtube channel via a video that featured her and the head of the School of Music. The conversation was regarding Covid-19 safety precautions for the multiple ensembles at the University.


Over the last year, the School of Music’s ensembles have been rehearsing under distancing protocols, playing with bell-covers, and have plastic shields between each player.


In an email correspondence, Ahn told The Argus, “As Scott and I live in the same house, the inconsistencies in the enforcement of the university’s health and safety policies and the State Executive Mask Mandate in recent events, became indefensible.”


Ahn and Malek confirmed to The Argus that they are partners. 


“I’m no freedom-fighter nor am I particularly politically involved. I’m just a music teacher who

believes in fairness,” wrote Ahn.


In a collection of emails shared with The Argus, Ahn makes her intentions clear. 


I only refuse to teach under current conditions that are in violation of our school policies and the state mask mandate. I submitted my plans for teaching online (recommended by my colleagues), which you declared insufficient without offering plausible suggestions,” Ahn wrote. 


According to Ahn, administrators told her that she was to continue to teach in violation of the health and safety policies, which she said endangers her own health as well as her students.


Ahn said in the emails that she is not resigning from IWU. 


For the safety of my students, myself, as well as the community, I am forced to follow these policies and the state mandate. I have been teaching my conducting class online as was suggested by the school. I’ve suggested alternative arrangements for me to continue my full teaching obligations, but you refused to allow me an alternative mode of teaching my ensembles,” Ahn wrote. 


According to Ahn, she has been put on leave for two weeks, and has been asked to comply with or resign. Ahn’s current employment status within Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Music is unknown. Malek’s videos, including the video that features Ahn, have garnered thousands of views since  September 10 and all previously deleted videos have been returned to the channel. In the comments, both Malek and Ahn has replied to comments about IWU> 


“This institution is very corrupt, and run by an administration who have zero integrity,” Ahn said.

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