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Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry has formally requested, on state letterhead, that Louisiana State University take disciplinary action against a tenured professor for referring to one of Landry’s political staffers as a “flunkie” on Twitter after she spoke at an LSU Faculty Senate meeting.

The letter, dated Dec. 9 and addressed to LSU president William F. Tate IV, accuses LSU journalism professor Robert Mann of violating the “Commitment to the Community” guidelines found in the faculty handbook, which emphasize values such as personal and social integrity, compassion, respect, and positive contributions to the campus and surrounding community.

At the heart of the issue is a battle over COVID-19 vaccines. Landry, who has been outspoken against mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirements, sent a staffer to an LSU Faculty Senate meeting where vaccines were on the agenda. As Mann and others pushed for stricter vaccine policies at LSU, Landry’s staffer read a letter at the meeting opposing such requirements

In response, Mann fired off the tweet that would ultimately lead to calls for him to be punished: “Louisiana AG Jeff Landry sending some flunkie to the LSU Faculty Senate meeting today to read a letter attacking covid vaccines is quite the move from a guy who considers himself ‘pro-life.’”

Prior to sending the letter, the Republican attorney general also tweeted a call for disciplinary action: “His disparaging remarks about this LSU alumna can not be without consequence. I have spoken with President Tate and expressed my disdain and expectation for accountability.”

Amid this drama, the LSU president has seemingly signaled support for Mann. In a statement provided to local news outlets, Tate, without directly addressing the incident, said, “As president of LSU, I am deeply committed to First Amendment rights. LSU is committed to free and open scholarship and the freedom to debate ideas and principles without interference.”