The University of Iowa’s College Republicans sent out a blast email to the university community – an email which had been approved by “several university officials,” royal teed off professor Lewin, and she blasted her own response saying “#*@% [F-Word] YOU, REPUBLICANS,” on university email. She accused the group of “appropriating the language of the LGBT right movement,” being insensitive to animal rights, denigrating the protesting union workers in Wisconsin, and maybe, destroying the “whole wide world,” oh sorry, that was Democrat Congressman Edward Markey.
College Republican Chairwoman, Natalie Ginty, immediately demanded an apology from Lewin’s supervisors. If Lewin’s obscenity puzzles you, let me tell you what she is professor of: Anthropology and Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies in the Department of Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies. She either doesn’t like Republicans in general, or the email’s subject line, “Conservative Coming Out Week,” or both.
Lewin did give a kinda/sorta apology and asked that the organization not send blanket emails, but the school had approved the email and the way it was sent. After the apology email, she sent this one:
I should note that several things in the original message were extremely offensive, nearly rising to the level of obscenity. Despite the Republicans’ general disdain for LGBT rights you called your upcoming event “conservative coming out day,” appropriating the language of the LGBT right movement. Your reference to the Wisconsin protests suggested that they were frivolous attempts to avoid work. And the “Animal Rights BBQ” is extremely insensitive to those who consider animal rights an important cause. Then, in the email that Ms. Ginty sent complaining about my language, she referred to me as Ellen, not Professor Lewin, which is the correct way for a student to address a faculty member, or indeed, for anyone to refer to an adult with whom they are not acquainted. I do apologize for my intemperate language, but the message you all sent out was extremely disturbing and offensive.
Note that Ginty referred to Lewin as Ellen – totally appropriate for an educator who hardly deserves respect after telling students to F-You.
Look at this, the faculty advisor for the University of Iowa College Republicans, Professor Tim Hagel, stood by the group in several ways – and I find his words to Lewin, in a university setting, completely refreshing:
It’s not my place at this point to debate the merits of whether the CR message was offense, but let me remind you that they have First Amendment rights as much as you do and that their message was approved for mass distribution by the VP for Student Services, as was indicated at the bottom of the original message.
Let me also note that I found your complaint about Ms. Ginty’s use of your first name to be rather ironic. As much as I agree with you that it would have been better for her to have shown the respect for your position by referring to you as “Professor,” respect is a two way street and you clearly did not show respect for the College Republicans in your initial response.
Ms. Ginty did not back down, and was not timid in her initial complaint. The school did not back down. Well done, Professor Hagel. These are the kind of Republicans we desperately need.