The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse fired an employee for expressing pro-Trump views this week, but after facing backlash, they have since reinstated her — although she has yet to accept, or decline.
Kimberly Dearman, a law enforcement dispatcher at the university, was terminated based on multiple charges including “conduct unbecoming a university employee,” according to her lawyer Lee Fehr.
Fehr sent an email to Wisconsin Watchdog Thursday morning that read: “Late [Wednesday] UWL admitted they wrongfully terminated her position.”
Wisconsin Watchdog reported:
UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow tells Wisconsin Watchdog that the university, on advice from University of Wisconsin System legal staff, has offered Dearman her job back. But the chancellor asserts that the employee was originally let go for making “racist comments.”
Ferh said his client is “considering options regarding employment.”
This whole fiasco began when Gow sent an anti-Trump email regarding the temporary travel ban which noted the school’s refusal to work with law enforcement “except where required by law.” Dearman reportedly spoke to a co-worker about her disagreement with the email, and was subsequently fired.
“In summary, Miss Dearman stated to a coworker that she felt Trump was put in a bad situation,” Fehr wrote in a letter sent to the Board of Regents. “She felt Trump was doing the correct thing by keeping terrorists out of the United States. She felt that those immigrants should go back where they came from.”
“She was terminated because of her political speech in support of President Trump.”
Sounds fine. Gow stated his opinion and she stated hers. Well, not so fast according to the HR department.
Wisconsin Watchdog continued:
The university’s human resources department found that Dearman violated the institution’s policy, charging that Dearman used “threatening or abusive language” and exhibited “conduct unbecoming of a university employee,” according to the termination letter.
In an interview Wednesday with Wisconsin Watchdog on the Vicki McKenna Show, Fehr said it is his understanding that his client merely expressed her support for the president’s policy and did not use threatening language.
The chancellor went on to claim that her speech was “racist” because she said “those immigrants should go back to where they came from” to a “student employee of Asian descent.” Gow noted that he wasn’t aware if the employee was an immigrant or not — as if that makes any difference to the fact that there was nothing wrong with what she said no matter who she said it to.
He also, conveniently, claimed that she had “other performance issues.”
“My emails were not racist, her comments were,” the chancellor said. “No one has a right at our university to express racist views.”
The First Amendment be damned, I guess …
“It appears to be the position of the University of Wisconsin that Chancellor Gow and other leaders can send out emails to initiate political discussions, but it is offensive and abusive for employees to have a casual workplace discussion about emails initiated by the University Wisconsin System through Chancellor Gow and his leadership team,” Fehr wrote.
“If political speech is offensive and abusive, when can the citizens of Wisconsin and employees of the University of Wisconsin expect chancellor Gow’s resignation or termination?” Fehr’s letter to the regents read. “Will the taxpayer-funded University of Wisconsin protect the average employee’s right to comment on the political email sent out by the leadership of the University of Wisconsin?”
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