BATON ROUGE, La. — An LSU associate professor has been fired for using curse words and telling sexually-themed jokes to undergraduate students.
However, The Advocate reports that the professor, Teresa Buchanan, says she is the victim of a “witch hunt.”
She plans to fight her dismissal in court.
The dismissal of Buchanan, who specializes in early childhood education and trains elementary school teachers, took effect June 19.
LSU administrators said Buchanan’s off-color language and humor created a hostile learning environment that amounted to sexual harassment.
The 20-year veteran of LSU argues that she has never sexually harassed anyone. She acknowledged using profanity every so often and making jokes to keep the attention of her students.
Buchanan was fired even though a committee of five faculty members that presided over an 11-hour dismissal review hearing held March 9 recommended that she keep her job.
While the committee found that her adult language and humor violated university policies that protect students and employees from sexual harassment, it found no evidence Buchanan’s comments were “systematically directed at any individual.”
Buchanan said she was going through a divorce during the time of the complaints, and she was a bit looser with her language but said it was nothing that warranted her firing.
She said the university is trying to dictate how she teaches and in the process is impinging on her academic freedom.
“The occasional use of profanity is not sexual harassment,” Buchanan said. “Nor is the occasional frank discussion of issues related to sexuality, particularly when done in the context of teaching specific issues related to sexuality.”
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard declined comment Friday on Buchanan’s dismissal, saying it’s a personnel matter and involves possible litigation.