Gov. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., has withdrawn honorary “Nebraska Navy” admiralships from two University of Nebraska-Lincoln educators who led a protest against a conservative student group.
Graduate teaching assistant Courtney Lawton and associate professor Amanda Gailey both made headlines last August after they harassed Turning Point USA chapter president Kaitlyn Mullen while she held a recruiting event on campus.
Omaha man Jay Grabow nominated Lawton and Gailey for the Nebraska Navy admiralship in a show of support of their protest against the conservative student group.
“I wanted to show them there are Nebraskans who are behind them and approve of their actions,” Grabow said.
Lawton was filmed flashing the middle finger and yelling “neo-fascist Becky, right here” at Mullen. The educator also accused the student of wanting to destroy public schools and universities.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln responded by telling Lawton that her contract would not be renewed once it expired in November of that year.
Gailey, who accompanied Lawton at the protest, was photographed holding a sign that read, “Turning Point: Please put me on your watchlist.”
The associate professor’s sign was in reference to a Turning Point USA project, Professor Watchlist, which is an aggregated list of publicly available news articles about professors who advance a radical agenda in lecture halls.
In a letter to Grabow, the governor said Lawton and Gailey’s admiralships were granted due to a “clerical error” that was made. The awards were then rescinded on Jan. 31, less than one month after they were mistakenly signed off on.
“Courtney Lawton’s behavior does not embody Nebraska values, which the original request represented,” he said.
The awards were revoked one day after Gailey and Grabow testified against a bill at a legislative hearing on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The bill, LB718, would require the university and other higher-education institutions in Nebraska to approve new guidelines for free speech on campus.
Alana Mastrangelo (@ARmastrangelo) is a political activist and writer.