Yesterday, we brought you the story of a LSU education professor who was fired for creating a “hostile learning environment.” The case has drawn the ire of academic freedom advocates across the country.
LSU is responding to the claims that the professor, Teresa Buchanan, was dismissed unfairly. In the inbox yesterday, we received a statement from LSU about the case. Here it is in full.
Recent news reports about the termination of one of LSU’s professors have not been entirely factual. Teresa Buchanan was not terminated due to isolated incidents. LSU has documented evidence of a history of inappropriate behavior that included verbal abuse, intimidation and harassment of our students.
LSU has been concerned about this matter for quite some time, and after complaints from students and educational providers, we took the appropriate steps, including removing her from the classroom since December 2013. In addition to LSU’s own findings, a review by her faculty peers found that Dr. Buchanan violated policies regarding student harassment.
Dr. Buchanan created a consistently hostile and abusive environment in the classroom. Additionally, she was asked not to return to more than one elementary school in the Baton Rouge area within the last three years because of her inappropriate behavior. Based upon this consistent pattern of hostile and abusive behavior that negatively impacted LSU students, we believed it was necessary to terminate her employment.
LSU does not normally comment on matters that involve potential litigation, but we believe it’s important to state the facts in order to correct some misperceptions regarding this issue. This case is not about the rights of tenured professors or academic freedom, as some of the press have reported. LSU had an obligation to take action on this matter. We take our responsibility to protect students from abusive behavior very seriously, and we will vigorously defend our students’ rights to a harassment-free educational environment.
If this statement is true, this changes everything. If there is a pattern of abusive behavior, then termination starts looking more and more justified. If it’s true that she was asked not to return to numerous elementary schools in Baton Rouge, then LSU probably had grounds for termination on those grounds alone.
Either way, the truth will come out as it always does.