State senators unhappy with the reaction of the University of Nebraska to complaints that it mistreats conservative students say they will sponsor legislation guaranteeing freedom of speech on the Lincoln campus.
Three state senators complained earlier the university failed to deal quickly with a complaint from a student who said she was harassed while recruiting for a conservative organization.
State Sen. Steve Halloran of Hastings says the legislation will guarantee freedom of speech on campus.
“And our goal is, we want a guaranteed First Amendment right for everybody on campus; make sure our university is welcoming to all viewpoints without any hint of apprehension,” Halloran tells Coby Mach, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
University of Nebraska – Lincoln sophomore Kaitlyn Mullen of Highlands Ranch, Colorado says some faculty derided her August 25th when she set up a table on campus outside the Nebraska Union to recruit for Turning Point USA, a conservative organization. Mullen complained graduate assistant Courtney Lawton called her a neo-fascist.
Halloran, Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard, and Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon sent a formal letter of complaint to Nebraska University President Hank Bounds and UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green.
Bounds has stated Lawton will not be returning after her contract expires at the end of the year. Two personnel from the UNL communications department have resigned in light of the controversy.
Bounds have also sent Gov. Pete Ricketts and state senators a letter on steps that will be taken, including contracting with Gallup to conduct a survey to assess the political environment on the campuses in Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney.
Sen. Erdman claims a liberal bias exists on the Lincoln campus which extends beyond this one incident.
“I believe this whole thing ends with making a full disclosure of what has been happening at the university over a long period of time and we figure out a way to treat everybody with civility and we treat everybody the same and we don’t discriminate or have a bias against certain organizations or groups that have a different opinion than the people who are instructing people,” according to Erdman.