Nebraska Responds to Demands on Political Climate

November 20, 2017

The University of Nebraska at Lincoln said Friday that a graduate student lecturer in English who flipped off an undergraduate activist and called her a “neo-fascist Becky” will no longer teach there. Two university spokespeople also resigned in relation to the incident. The announcement follows pressure from state lawmakers to make the campus more hospitable to political conservatives. Courtney Lawton, the lecturer, already has been removed from the classroom but will formally stop teaching at the end of the year, when her contract runs out, according to the Omaha World-Herald.  In August, Lawton was captured on video protesting on-campus recruiting table for Turning Point USA, the conservative student organization behind Professor Watchlist.

Three Republican state legislators said earlier this month that they wanted more “accountability” and “transparency” from the university on political climate issues. The University of Nebraska System has since sent them a letter promising changes that reflect “the importance of open conversation that respects each other’s differences.” Planned actions include formally studying the climate. Two university spokespeople also said last week that they’d resigned, after the institution released internal emails that critics said suggested an attempt to “spin” the Turning Point story, according to the World-Herald. Teresa Paulson, university system spokesperson and one of those who resigned, disputed that suggestion, saying “the clear purpose of my email was simply to ensure that we were conveying the positive attributes of the university’s students, staff and faculty.”


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