Nebraska pres of AAUP resigns amid pressure to support embattled lecturer

  • The American Association of University Professors Nebraska state president resigned after only one month due to pressure to support a lecturer who harassed conservative students on campus last year.
  • Donna Dufner claims that she found the university's disciplinary actions appropriate, and thus felt it was necessary to resign.

The President of Nebraska’s branch of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) resigned amid pressure to support a controversial lecturer who harassed conservative students on campus.

Recently appointed Donna Dufner, a professor at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, announced her resignation Wednesday just a month after taking the reins, according to the Omaha World-Herald.

"I couldn’t represent the AAUP in the Lawton case."   

[RELATED: Conservative profs ‘blown off’ by academic freedom advocates]

In the ongoing controversy between University of Nebraska, Lincoln lecturer Courtney Lawton, who, as Campus Reform reported, berated a group of Turning Point USA students on campus, Dufner sided with administration’s decision to pursue disciplinary measures.

Lawton, notably, called Turning Point member Katie Mullen a “neo-fascist Becky” while flicking her off.

The Herald reports that Dufner was facing pressure from her predecessor to support Lawton, with Dufner claiming that Julia Schleck wanted her “support for the Lawton affair, against the administration.”

Dufner, though, had a different opinion about how the situation was handled, agreeing that the administration had taken the appropriate actions against Lawton, who was reassigned after the incident.

[RELATED: Lecturer dismissed after harassing conservative students]

“I couldn’t represent the AAUP in the Lawton case because I kept coming down on the side of the administration,” Dufner remarked, stating in an email to state AAUP officers and colleagues that the Lawton case has preoccupied the organization.

“Since this issue seems to be the overarching mission of the Nebraska Conference at this time, I cannot faithfully serve as your President and represent your views. Therefore I am stepping down . . . immediately,” Dufner wrote in her resignation letter.

Additionally, Dufner claimed that she felt pressured by Schleck to order a “vote of no confidence” against Hank Bounds, current president of the University of Nebraska System.

“I said, ‘No, absolutely not, never. I really like the guy,’” Dufner commented, though Schleck denies any such request from occurring.

[RELATED: UNL admins deny allegations of hostility towards conservatives]

In response to inquiries, Lawton simply pointed out that she was never spoken to about the situation by Dufner.

”All I have to say is that she never spoke to me about my protest against TPUSA on August 25,” she said. 

Schleck, meanwhile, suggested that Dufner has “been unable to put her personal views of the case aside in order to pursue the mission of [the] organization,” adding that she finds resignation appropriate.

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Adam Sabes
Adam Sabes | Assistant Editor

Adam Sabes is the Assistant Editor reporting on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Adam was previously the Mississippi Senior Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.

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