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Professor berates student in Myanmar for missing exam due to military-imposed internet blackout, viral screenshots show

A professor at York University in Ontario, Canada, has been pulled from the course he was teaching after screenshots that showed him berating and threatening to fail a student went viral earlier this week. The professor is seen telling the student, who said they could not take their midterm exam because of the military-imposed internet blackout in Myanmar, that "The next time you miss something, it's over."

Screenshots of the email exchange show the student asking mathematics and statistics professor Emanoil Theodorescu for a deferral of their midterm exam, saying they recently learned the military would be imposing another internet blackout. 

"I have just learned that from tomorrow all cellular data, wifi and internet services will be cut off indefinitely," the student wrote. "Therefore, there will be a total communications blackout." 

"There is no deferral. It's transferred to the final exam. Last chance, bad sign," Theodorescu responded, according to the screenshots. "Even the internet came down with Covid19?" 

The student responded by trying to explain the situation in Myanmar, which has been rocked by protest and civil unrest since the military conducted a coup in February. 

"Almost 200 protestors have been shot [until] now. The regime has decided to shut off all communications by tomorrow," the student said. 

When the student asked if their final exam would now be 60% of their grade, Theodorescu responded, "something like that." 

"Ok Professor. Thank you," the student said. "So I shouldn't worry if I miss the test tomorrow?

 "Of course you should," Theodorescu replied. "The next time you miss something, it's over." 

"By the way, your remarks (both related to this course and to your home country) made me wonder how you understand reality," he added.  "People don't get shot for just protesting, but for a lot deeper reasons. And with loading everything on the final exam - it's going to be tough to pass the course - for lack of practice, if nothing else." 

Screenshots of the exchange posted to Twitter on Thursday quickly sparked outrage. In a Friday statement, York University said that it is committed to ensuring "respect, equity, diversity and inclusion," adding, "There was a recent communication between a Department of Mathematics & Statistics instructor and a student that does not reflect those values."   

"We would like to assure all concerned that senior staff from the Faculty were able to directly make contact with the student the night of the exchange with the instructor and clearly expressed support for their difficult circumstance and well-being, and further, assured them that necessary accommodations would be granted," the university said. 

"Alternate arrangements for the teaching of the course have been made," the university added.  

Theodorescu's contact information has since been removed from the department's faculty and instructors page. He has not returned CBS News' request for comment.

Civil unrest has consumed Myanmar following the February 1 coup, which resulted in the military junta seizing control of the country. Military officials said they took control because leader Aung San Suu Kyi was elected due to election fraud, a claim that has been widely dispelled. Suu Kyi and hundreds of other politicians and allies have been in prison ever since. 

The military has cut internet services and blocked international communications as protests have quelled. More than 100 people, including many young adults, students, educators and health care workers, have been killed by the military for protesting the coup. 

On Friday, the United Nations accused the junta of using force to take over more than 60 schools, and even assaulting teachers, according to The Associated Press. 

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