LSU Professor With Tenure Fired For Saying Swear Words In Class
Teresa Buchanan, tenured LSU professor, was dismissed from her position for saying things like “fuck, no” and “slang term for vagina that implies cowardice,” which we can only assume means that she called someone a pussy. As reported by the Advocate, the college alleges that these terms created a hostile environment, tantamount to sexual harassment. Well, I guess we’re all fucked.
Buchanan specializes in early education and trains elementary school teachers. She is not very pleased about this.
“The occasional use of profanity is not sexual harassment,” Buchanan said. “Nor is the occasional frank discussion of issues related to sexuality, particularly when done in the context of teaching specific issues related to sexuality.”
Jezebel reports that she was removed from teaching in December 2013, and formally dismissed on June 19th. Buchanan reportedly was going through a divorce during the time the incidents occurred, so she might have been a little “looser” with her language, but she insists that this is an example of the university attempting to police her teaching methods. That’s a pretty fair assessment, because profanity in context is an entirely different beast than language that is sexually harassing in nature.
Kevin Cope, president of LSU’s Faculty Senate, said Alexander’s dismissal of the faculty’s judgments in Buchanan’s case is disturbing, but part of a larger problem at many universities, not just LSU.
“Once it goes to the president, there is no constraint on what the president can do,” Cope said.
Cope cast doubt on whether Buchanan violated any of the university’s policies. He noted the university’s sexual harassment policies require behavior that is not only sexual in nature, but that it must clearly hurt the school performance of students and employees.
“Personally, this is nothing that I would consider sexual harassment at all,” Cope said. He added that if using profanity is grounds for dismissal, two-thirds of college administrators should be fired.
Is this the P.C. police, at it again? Maybe. More likely, the administration at LSU is trying to shake down Buchananan and get her out because of a personal grudge. But if we’re going to be this picky about sexual harassment and the language used in higher education and in the workplace, then everybody involved needs to slow their roll. Crying wolf does nothing for the fight. Besides, if saying “fuck, no” in emphatic disagreement with something constitutes sexual harassment in any workplace, the majority of the workforce in America should batten their hatches against the onslaught of potential lawsuits.
Buchanan feels she was dismissed unnecessarily. According to the Advocate, the American Association of University Professionals has set up a legal defense fund for her ,which you can get more information about here.