UNL lecturers booted from Nebraska 'navy' for bullying student
- The Governor of Nebraska has rescinded honorary "admiralships" in the state's mythical "navy" that he had bestowed upon two University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty members.
- Gov. Pete Ricketts blamed the initial decision on a "clerical error," saying the instructors' harassment of a conservative student on campus last year should have been "a disqualifying factor."
The Governor of Nebraska has rescinded an honor mistakenly bestowed upon two University of Nebraska-Lincoln instructors who harassed a conservative student on campus.
The honorary admiralship in the Nebraska “navy” is open to nominations by the public, which the governor then approves. Republican Governor Pete Ricketts initially signed off on the award for Amanda Gailey and Courtney Lawton on January 5, but reversed the decision on January 31, according to The Lincoln Journal Star.
A spokesman for Ricketts indicated that the revocation was not a reversal of the governor’s position, however, attributing the initial approval to a “clerical error.”
Both Gailey and Lawton were among several professors and graduate students who aggressively jeered TPUSA chapter president Katie Mullen as she tried to recruit students to join the club, with Lawton notably taunting Mullen as a “neo-fascist Becky” and giving her the middle finger.
According to the report, Jay Gabrow who is a resident of Omaha, nominated Gaily and Lawton, stating that the two had a lot of courage standing up for free speech in Nebraska.
“I thought it would be kind of fun to give them a little levity and give them an award,” Grabow said. “I wanted to show them there are Nebraskans who are behind them and approve of their actions.”
Although Ricketts initially accepted the nomination, his office sent Grabow a letter asking him to return the awards one day after he and Gaily both testified against a bill in the Nebraska legislature (LB 178) requiring higher educational institutions to adopt a free speech policy,
“Admiralships are an honor issued as a courtesy for special occasions,” the letter stated, explaining that “Your request was issued due to a clerical error.”
A spokesperson for the Governor told the Journal Star that the admiralships were revoked because of the behavior Lawton and Gailey demonstrated during the past semester.
“The high-profile controversies surrounding these individuals, which included an obscene gesture made toward a University sophomore, are a disqualifying factor,” explained Taylor Gage. "Courtney Lawton's behavior does not embody 'Nebraska values,' which the original request represented.”
Grabow, in a phone interview with the Journal Star, described the governor’s revocation of the admiralships as “mean and vindictive.”
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