The American Association of University Professors voted to add the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to its censure list on June 16.
The decision came after months of investigation into the events surrounding the dismissal of sixth-year doctoral student Courtney Lawton from her lecturing position at the university.
UNL dismissed Lawton on Sept. 5 after she was documented making obscene gestures toward a student at a Turning Point USA booth on August 25, 2017.
In the statement after the AAUP’s investigative report and its subsequent vote, the association said Lawton’s removal was “tantamount to a summary dismissal, since the administration did not provide suitable due process before relieving Lawton of her role.”
According to AAUP’s website, the censure did not come lightly, but after “departures from AAUP’s principles and standards of academic freedom” by UNL.
Both University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds and UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green voiced their objections to AAUP’s vote.
“I am disappointed in the vote,” Green said in a statement. “We stated our specific concerns with the inaccuracies in the report and had hoped to have a constructive dialogue with the AAUP. It’s unfortunate that wasn’t possible.”
Green said UNL’s core responsibility is to provide quality education and to “ensure a classroom environment that is conducive to learning.”
Bounds conveyed a similar sentiment.
“I disagree with the AAUP’s conclusions, which are based on inaccurate and misleading information,” Bounds said. “It’s too bad the AAUP was not interested in the constructive dialogue the Chancellor sought. Instead the AAUP chose to paint a picture of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that is inconsistent with the institution we know.”