Lecturer dismissed after harassing conservative student
The University of Nebraska, Lincoln announced Friday that is will release a lecturer who had harassed and berated conservative students tabling on campus.
As Campus Reform first reported in August, at least three professors had circled the table where Turning Point USA President Katie Mullen was recruiting on campus, shouting obscenities such as “f**k Charlie Kirk” and “TPUSA Nazis.”
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Among the professors was graduate teaching assistant Courtney Lawton, who was recorded yelling “neo-fascist Becky right here. Wants to destroy public schools, public universities, hates DACA,” and then proceeded to give Mullen the middle finger.
After Campus Reform had inquired into the situation, university administrators denied allegations that the institution had any hostility toward conservative students, but did announce that Lawton had been indefinitely assigned to non-teaching duties.
In November, Campus Reform attempted to inquire into the status of Lawton, after rumors circulated on social media that she would be returning to the classroom, though the Office of the University Registrar declined to comment, while English Department Chair Marco Abel did not respond to multiple inquiries.
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Now, an email released to The Omaha World-Herald written by System President Hank Bounds reveals that Lawton will no longer be employed by the university when her contract expires.
Additionally, Bounds noted that he has consulted with Gallup to “conduct an assessment of the campus environment for students, faculty, and staff of diverse political backgrounds.”
“Gallup will assess all four NU campuses. We will develop an action plan for any weaknesses identified in the survey,” he continued in a letter written in response to state senators who had accused the university of demonstrating bias against conservatives.
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Bounds included in the letter several email correspondences between university officials regarding the August incident, which he conceded “reflect serious errors in judgement,” confirming that “we are holding employees accountable.”
“I am surprised and embarrassed by what we found in the documents. Some of the emails reflect unprofessional behavior by our employees and I apologize,” Bounds added, concluding by acknowledging that “there are concerns about bias on our campuses.”
The World-Herald also reports that at least two staffers—including the university’s news director and its chief communication and marketing officer—have resigned after emails revealed that employees involved in public relations attempted to “have a surrogate submit op-eds” in an attempt to spin the story.
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“We have heard from a number of Nebraskans in recent months who are asking whether their university is welcoming toward all. I take those questions seriously,” he stated.
Campus Reform currently has an outstanding Public Records Request into the matter, and will continue to provide updates on any new developments.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski