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ERDMAN: UNL professor, teaching assistant need to be terminated

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Amanda Gailey, associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, and graduate teaching assistant, Courtney Lawton, need to be fired immediately. On Aug.25, Gailey berated and intimidated, Kaitlyn Mullen, a sophomore student at UNL, as she quietly manned her recruitment table for Turning Point USA, a national organization with chapters on college campuses across the nation.

Professor Gailey’s behavior was immoral, unprofessional and unacceptable. According to the Statement on Professional Ethics provided by the American Association of University Professors, professors are expected to “avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students.”

According to NU Regent, Hal Daub, Professor Gailey’s protest was a premeditated and organized effort to intimidate and shut down Kaitlyn Mullen. Daub has cited as evidence the presence of pre-made protest signs which were revealed in a video of the incident. According to Daub, this is not a free speech issue; it is a conduct issue, and I agree.

Unless Amanda Gailey is fired, a double standard will exist at the University of Nebraska between students and staff and between liberals and conservatives. For instance, on Aug. 19, 2017 UNL Chancellor, Ronnie Green spoke to approximately 5,000 incoming freshman at UNL’s New Student Convocation. At the end of that speech, he said, “Each member of the university’s community, whether that’s faculty, whether it’s staff, whether it’s you as students, whether it’s your colleagues as graduate students here on campus, should be a role model for others, and lastly, we take action when we observe something or someone being treated unfairly or in a demeaning manner. It’s our core belief as a university here at the University of Nebraska It’s non-negotiable. It’s who we are.”

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So far, these core values are non-negotiable and apply to everyone at the University of Nebraska, except Professor Amanda Gailey and English Department, graduate teaching assistant, Courtney Lawton, who called Kaitlyn Mullen a neo-fascist on her protest sign and verbally assaulted her as a “Becky.”

The conduct of these two individuals has had a debilitating effect on the student body at UNL. For instance, I recently attended an area school board function where I sat next to a gentleman whose daughter attends UNL. Because she was afraid, she called her father and asked him what she should do if she ever got one of these professors. These conservative students no longer feel protected by the university.

Violence and intimidation tactics from left-wing extremist professors are quickly becoming the norm on American university campuses. Recently, University of Tampa Sociology Professor Kenneth L. Storey blamed Hurricane Harvey on Texans who voted for Republicans. Furthermore, I still remember when Assistant Professor Melissa Click at the University of Missouri called for some back-up “muscle” in order to eject student journalist, Mark Schierbecker, as he filmed Professor Click berating Tim Tai, another student journalist who was trying to photograph their Concerned Student 1950 protest campsite on the university’s quad. Freshman enrollment at the University of Missouri - Columbia has fallen 35 percent since that incident.

American universities never seem to mind it when conservative students get picked on by extremist liberal professors, but as soon as someone spots a banana peel hanging from a tree limb at Ole Miss, all Greek life suddenly comes to a screeching halt. Therefore, the time has come for the University of Nebraska to take some corrective action, and I expect them to terminate the employment Amanda Gailey and Courtney Lawton immediately. The university may find a replacement professor in the same manner they would if the instructor suddenly became hospitalized or died.

The bottom line is that we can no longer tolerate this kind of extremist behavior from our esteemed faculty at the University of Nebraska. To the contrary, the University of Nebraska must become a place which welcomes the free flow of ideas from both liberals and conservatives. Tolerance is a value which must protect students, staff and faculty on both sides of the political aisle.

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