A university fired an employee for defending President Trump’s immigration executive order to one of her co-workers when the university president sent an email calling the executive order “very troubling.”
After she defended Trump’s order to a co-worker, the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, terminated Kim Dearman, a university law enforcement dispatcher, for “threatening or abusive language” and “conduct unbecoming a University employee,” according to documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Your last day on campus is March 13, 2017,” said Madeline S. Holzem, UW La Crosse’s Chief Human Resources Officer, in a letter sent to Ms. Dearman on the same day.
“Ms. Dearman told a co-worker that she supported President Trump’s position on immigration,” said attorney Lee J. Fehr, who is representing the former UW La Crosse employee, in a letter to the school’s board of directors. “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.”
Mr. Fehr told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Ms. Dearman did not use any racial epithets or inciting language when expressing her opinion.
Ms. Dearman’s comments were in response to a January 30, 2017 email sent by UWL Chancellor Joe Gow and other administrators at the school.
“Like so many of you, the UW leadership team and I are shocked and saddened by President Donald Trump’s order prohibiting refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States,” said Gow and the UWL administrators. “Here at UWL we do not discriminate based on a person’s religion or country of origin, and it is very troubling to see the leader of our country doing exactly that.”
“It appears to be the position of the University of Washington that Gow and other leaders can send out emails to initiate political discussions, but it is offensive and abusive for employees to have a casual work place discussion about [these emails],” explained the attorney.
After receiving criticism, Gow and the UWL administrators issued a retraction of these remarks Feb. 1, but stood by the professed commitment to inclusiveness and tolerance that comprised the rest of the email.
“We want to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring a safe and inclusive campus environment for all individuals , regardless of their national origin, citizenship/immigration status, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, ability and other significant aspects of individual and cultural identity,” said Gow and UWL administrators.
Gow has previously come under fire for questioning the cross shape of a flag display at a UWL 9/11 memorial.
“Although I’m not sure what the students who put up the flags are attempting to convey with this particular design,” said Gow of the cross shape, “I also would like to remind everyone that UW-L is a state and federally supported institution and as such we do not endorse any particular religion.”
“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?” asked Mr. Fehr.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to UW La Crosse multiple times, but was unable to obtain comment in time for publication.
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