YouTube has video, the wire services and newspapers carried the story. It happened more than two weeks ago in Brazil; Yet it was big news around the world today. Within hours the Brazilian university reversed its decision to expel a mini-wearing student.
One thing is clear, Geisy Arruda, a 20-year-old student at Bandeirante Univeristy in Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, was hounded from the college after wearing a hot-pink mini dress to school (see previous coverage).
An estimated 700 students filled halls and lined balconies to scream insults and threats at the frightened young woman. But to-night, after her plight drew global condemnation, Arruda can say, "I'll be back!"
It has been widely reported that, "The university published newspaper advertisements Sunday saying it expelled Arruda for allegedly disrespecting 'ethical principles, academic dignity and morality'.” Many believe it was the wearing of the short dress to which the university was referring.
Many Brazilian websites disagree, saying that it was her behaviour while wearing the dress to which the university was referring. Others argue it was class prejudice that drove the mob to persecute Arruda.
Whatever the cause, the latest turn of events has Bandeirante University backtracking on their widely publicized position. According to the Associated Press, just hours after the Brazilian government announced it was seeking clarification for the expulsion of Arruda from Bandeirante University, "its dean released a note saying he was reversing the school's decision to expel Arruda." No reason was given for the reversal.
At this time, Arruda has not commented on the rescinding of the original order expelling her from school.
According to O Globo, Arruda's lawyer, Nehemias Melo, said the young student was the victim of at least seven crimes which he went on to list. Among these were: defamation, personal injury, threating action and forced incarceration (she was locked in a room, according to Melo). It is not clear what legal action Arruda will take to address the personal indignities she suffered.
As can be seen in the YouTube video, Arruda was forced to cover her dress with a white lab coat before being escorted by police from the school, while braving angry insults, curses and threats from the large, loud, tumultuous student mob.
In ads Sunday, titled “Educational Responsibility,” the university claimed it had previously warned Arruda to change her behaviour. The decision to expel her was not made until discussions were held with students, teachers and Arruda herself. They said the huge student outcry resulting in pandemonium in the halls forced the college's hand; They had to act. Now, they have reversed their action.
University lawyer, Décio Lencioni had told Globo TV, "The problem is not her clothes; it’s her behaviour, her attitude.” Yahoo Canada News reports that Lencioni said, "Arruda even raised her dress and stopped to pose for photos the night she was insulted. He said she also chose the longest way to get to class to attract the attention of more students."
Sao Bernardo do Campo police are investigating the October 22 incident at the college and the university says some of the students involved in the verbal attack have been temporarily suspended. Some students are alleged to have done more than just verbally harass Arruda. According to O Globo, both the YouTube videos and the videos shot by campus cameras of the mob action have yet to be analyzed.
Brazzil Magazine quotes Kelly Andrezzi, a classmate of Arruda's, "I was very afraid . . . but I could not have imagined what was about to come . . . "
Amanda de Souza Augusto, another classmate, added, "We had to slap, clinch and fight with the boys, who were trying to go into the bathroom, and trying to put cell phones between Geisy's legs."
Senator Serys Slheearenko, in a speech delivered in the assembly, said the university students were caught up in an act of aggressive mass hysteria. He said the young Geisy Arruda must be protected from ". . . the disrespect, the injustice that still hides in the head and heart of a few . . . . "
The incident occurred in one of the wealthiest municipalities in the area.
Pictures of Geisy Arruda are posted on LaLate News. A good headshot is found at this link to O Globo. Click to enlarge image.