In the midst of backlash, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is reassuring members of the campus community that free speech is their focus.
Despite the institution’s efforts to resolve the issue internally, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts had a few words to say about ‘Husker-gate.’
The University of Nebraska system President Hank Bounds released a statement calling the incident between protesting professors and a student who was tabling for the campus’s Turning Point USA chapter as “vulgar.”
“A number of Nebraskans have expressed concerns about the recent treatment of one of our students in a public space by a University of Nebraska faculty member,” Bounds said. “I have reviewed the incident in question. The behavior involved vulgar gestures and language that many people would consider offensive. It was unprofessional and not in keeping with the standards of conduct I expect from members of the University of Nebraska community.”
Nonetheless, the extent of what a ‘review’ means–in this regard–has yet to be determined.
Governor Ricketts offered a similar statement to Turning Point News.
“It is the duty of University faculty and staff to help students encounter opposing viewpoints in a civil manner regardless of the person’s background or beliefs. The videos depict a University staff member bullying a peaceful student promoting their viewpoint. I encourage the University to send a clear message about the role their team members play in fostering an environment for civil dialogue on campus.”
Consequently, President Bounds’s statement follows the same line of reasoning as the Governor.
“We have the unique privilege of helping shape young minds, and everything we do is a teachable moment,” Bounds said. “In this case, we had an opportunity to model how differing opinions can be exchanged with civility, respect and dignity. It appears that opportunity was missed. I’m deeply troubled that a student has been treated this way. I will continue to support free speech, but we must allow for the healthy exchange of ideas without personal attacks, especially against young people who are our future.”
One of the professors believed to be a part of the protest against TPUSA member Kaitlyn Mullen is associate English professor Amanda Gailey.
In a statement to the Daily Nebraskan, Gailey called the claims against her and the other members of the protests entirely false and defamatory.
“I believe it is a transparent intimidation tactic meant to shame and silence faculty for holding ideas that oppose the far right,” Gailey said via an emailed statement to the Nebraskan.
Stay tuned for more developments on ‘Husker-gate.’