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LSU Insists Fired Professor Had A History Of 'Verbal Abuse' Against Students

Teresa Buchanan says she was fired for cursing in class, LSU says it worse than that.

Louisiana State University issued a statement late Wednesday claiming administrators had to fire a tenured elementary education professor due to a pattern of "inappropriate behavior."

Teresa Buchanan was officially terminated in June after a lengthy investigation into her alleged harassment and "verbal abuse" of students. Buchanan insisted her firing was simply due to her using profanities in the classroom, and a leading faculty organization, the American Association of University Professors, sent a letter to LSU officials Tuesday saying they went too far.

But LSU said it was about more than a few curse words in lectures.

"Dr. Buchanan created a consistently hostile and abusive environment in the classroom," the university said in a statement. "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."

The university had initially declined to comment, citing that it was a personnel matter involving "potential litigation," because Buchanan threatened to sue over her termination. In a statement, LSU said, "we believe it’s important to state the facts in order to correct some misperceptions regarding this issue."

 

LSU's statement is posted in full below:

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.