University of Nebraska - Lincoln: Lecturer Dismissed After Showing Middle Finger During Protest


University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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Case Overview


In August, 2017, a University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL) student set up a table to recruit for Turning Point USA, a conservative organization that operates a controversial “Professor Watchlist.” Courtney Lawton, a lecturer and graduate student at UNL, joined a professor in holding a demonstration beside the tabling event, calling on passersby to “fight nationalism, fight white supremacy.” The student videotaped Lawton, who responded with a middle-finger and said “Neo-fascist Becky right here . . . wants to destroy public schools, public universities, hates DACA kids.” As criticism mounted online and from state legislators, UNL removed Lawton from teaching duties and publicly announced that it would not renew her contract. On December 8, 2017, FIRE wrote to UNL asking the university to reinstate Lawton’s employment.