02/04/2014 06:01 EST | Updated 04/06/2014 05:59 EDT

John Shieh, Memorial University Professor, Who Posed Rape Question In Assignment, Apologizes

A computer science professor at Memorial University in St. John's who is at the centre of a controversial assignment — creating a program predicting whether a rape victim would kill herself — has apologized to his students.

Some students were upset with the assignment from John Shieh, who had asked them to develop a software program that would predict whether a rape victim would commit suicide after being humiliated through online commentary. 

Mark Abrahams, the dean of the science faculty at the university, said he met with instructor John Shieh to discuss the situation.

Abrahams said Shieh has apologized to the class, and he has also substituted a new question on the assignment so that students will not lose marks if they did not complete the question.

Shieh has not responded to interview requests from CBC, but told Maclean's magazine's news blog that he apologized and that he had not considered the sensitivity of the topic.

He said he was trying to give students a familiar topic for his assignments.

Abrahams said the issue is not yet concluded, although he couldn't say what other possible sanctions may be considered.

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