Sac State professor apologizes for video featuring racial slurs, petition circulates for his removal

University to hold virtual town hall addressing incident


Screenshot via Facebook

A Facebook video posted Friday, May 1 went viral, showing a Sac State professor and a woman arguing with their neighbors. The man in the video was identified as Tim Ford by university administrators.

Madeleine Beck and Chris Wong

On the heels of an official university response condemning the incident, the Sacramento State professor seen in a viral video confrontation with his neighbors apologized for his wife’s use of a racial slur.

The video — originally posted to Facebook on May 1 by Sac State professor Tim Ford’s neighbor Mikaela Cobb — showed an altercation where Ford’s wife called Cobb a “bitch” and a racial slur.

Cobb said she will no longer speak to the press because the apartment complex where she and Ford reside hired an attorney.

RELATED: Sac State professor seen in viral video where wife uses racial slur against neighbors

The original video was deleted but has been reposted online, receiving thousands of views.

“While we’ve had difficulties with this neighbor, this particular confrontation got out of hand,” Ford said in an apology statement through his attorney, Jonathan Stein. 

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Tim Ford said his wife checked into a hospital for alcohol and drug abuse Friday. 

“She recognizes the hurt and anger that she has caused and regrets it,” Ford said.

He said he hopes Cobb, whom his wife used the racial slur against, will accept his apology.

Story continues below Reddit post.

Sac State professor seen in viral video where wife uses racial slur against neighbors from r/PublicFreakout

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Cobb posted a photo of the keys to her new apartment to Facebook on Thursday, and described her encounters with the Fords from the time they moved in.

“I posted the video of my neighbors to show my friends and family what I have been going through for months in a moment of being fed up with the situation,” Cobb said in the post. “I have countless videos, emails to my complex, and messages from other tenants that have had to deal with them.”

Cobb said she made the viral video private because she is “over the situation,” and hopes the Fords change their actions and get help if needed.

“I can finally relax in my own home!” Cobb said.

Ford’s class held normally Thursday after video went viral

Economics major Matthew Clare is enrolled in Ford’s ECON 100A class, intermediate macroeconomic theory. Clare said Ford still held class Thursday, and the video was not discussed.

Clare said he was not aware of anyone confronting Ford during lecture. Class time was spent preparing for the final.

“The racial slurs were completely uncalled for and really embarrassing to hear,” Clare said via Reddit direct message. “The whole video made me cringe.”

Clare said he thinks Ford should get a minor disciplinary action and apologize for embarrassing the school and himself.

“I don’t feel that termination would be appropriate considering the time we are in right now,” Clare said. “Ford is a really good teacher and I don’t think this instance is enough to fire him in my opinion.”

Clare said Ford was an engaging teacher and that his class was one of his favorite classes this semester. Despite the incident, Clare said he thinks his study group is still looking forward to taking Ford’s online summer class, sports economics.

Nelsen condemns incident, virtual town hall scheduled

An email sent by the Division of Inclusive Excellence on Friday announced that a virtual town hall will be held on May 19 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in response to the video. 

“The President and his Cabinet understand that the Hornet community has many questions about what actions can and will be taken to respond to racial bias experienced by many in our community,” the email said.

Earlier on Friday, Sac State President Robert Nelsen sent a SacSend email condemning the incident. In his email, Nelsen said that “the verbal altercation is a personnel matter that the university is investigating,” and that Sac State would not be addressing it again publicly.

At the town hall, participants will discuss the process by which the campus responds to personnel matters and what actions the institution can take in response to the larger issues of racial bias, the email said. 

Questions for the town hall can be submitted in advance by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “May 2020 Town Hall.” An ASL interpretation and closed captioning will also be available.

Petition to fire Ford circulates

A petition by a Sac State student titled hashtag #FireTimFord started circulating Friday morning, and had gained over 500 signatures as of Saturday morning. 

The petition states that because Sac State consists of a majority of minority students, the cultivation of an environment that is free of racial bias and discrimination is important.

“In order to ensure that students feel exempt from bigotry in the classroom, professors that have exhibited a blatant prejudice against minorities, both on and off campus, need to be dismissed from employment at Sac State,” the description of the petition said. 

The petition’s creator, Sac State senior and rapper GREO the Storyteller, has not yet responded to requests for comment sent Friday at 9:28 p.m. over Instagram.

The Sac State community has been vocal about the incident on social media.


Additional reporting by Margherita Beale.