University of Kansas Professor Reinstated After Four Month Investigation Into Classroom Speech

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of Kansas

University of Kansas assistant professor of communications studies Andrea Quenette was cleared of any wrongdoing after a four month investigation into comments she made during a candid, in-class discussion on race. Following the discussion, eight graduate students filed complaints against Quenette with the university, some of whom were not even in Quenette’s class. In their open letter, the students argued that Quenette’s comments during the discussion were “unacceptably offensive” and violated KU’s Racial & Ethnic Harassment Policy, among other university policies. They also said they would no longer attend her class. Quenette was subsequently placed on paid leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. FIRE wrote to KU urging the university to recognize that the professor’s comments are protected by the First Amendment and that any punishment would violate her rights. On March 18, 2016, the university announced that Quenette did not violate university policy and could return to teaching.

  • KU Prof Loses job Despite Being Cleared by Investigation

    May 26, 2016

    By Anthony Gockowski at Campus Reform A professor at the University of Kansas has lost her job after allegedly inappropriately using a racial slur in class, despite a lengthy investigation that cleared her of all charges… Read more here.  

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  • Professor Cleared and Still out of a Job

    May 18, 2016

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed Andrea Quenette, the University of Kansas professor of communication who used a racial slur during an ill-received class discussion about race, says she was not reappointed to her tenure-track position… Read more here.

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    May 18, 2016

    By College Fix Staff at The College Fix Never, ever, ever, ever say the N-word in any class discussion – no matter the context, even if you are quoting somebody else – if you are white… Read more here.

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  • Professor Cleared to Teach After Furor Over Race

    March 21, 2016

    By Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed The University of Kansas on Friday informed Andrea M. Quenette, assistant professor of communication studies, that she has been cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation overcomments she made about race in a graduate course in November. Quenette had been suspended while the investigation was going on — and the incident and its aftermath have been of concern to many advocates for academic freedom. Read more here.

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  • Victory: University of Kansas Professor Reinstated After Four-Month Investigation Into Classroom Speech

    March 21, 2016

    LAWRENCE, Kan., March 21, 2016—A University of Kansas communications professor was cleared of any wrongdoing late Friday after a four-month investigation into comments she made during a classroom discussion on race. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) wrote to KU last month, urging the university to recognize that the professor’s comments are protected by the First Amendment and that any punishment would violate her rights. “I am tremendously relieved to have this process complete as the last four months have been a terribly emotionally distressing time for me and my family,” said assistant professor of communications studies Andrea […]

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  • What’s at Stake in KU’s Investigation of Professor’s In-Class Comments? Only Academic Freedom as Faculty Know It

    February 17, 2016

    In the midst of the surge in student protests across the country last fall, Torch readers may have caught wind of the case of University of Kansas (KU) communications professor Andrea Quenette, who last November found herself caught in a whirlwind of controversy following the negative reaction of students enrolled in her graduate seminar to her facilitation of an in-class discussion on race. “Negative reaction” doesn’t begin to cover it. The students accused Quenette of racial harassment and signed a now widely-seen open letter demanding that KU fire Quenette—effectively asking the university to police in-class speech by faculty to a […]

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