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The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is reversing course on its decision to terminate one of its employees.

Chancellor Joe Gow said late Wednesday that UW System legal counsel recommended the campus offer Kimberly Dearman her position back as a dispatcher at the UW-L Police Department. Dearman was terminated on Monday after an investigation by UW-L, which Gow said did not follow all of the due process requirements.

Gow said the offer of reinstatement had been sent to Dearman and her lawyer, who he said were still mulling it over. Neither Dearman nor her lawyer was available for comment Wednesday night.

“We should have investigated more fully,” he said. “We should have had a hearing. We were wrong on that.”

In a letter sent Tuesday to the UW System Board of Regents, Kimberly Dearman’s lawyer, Lee Fehr of Onalaska, said his client had been fired for speech she made in support of President Donald Trump’s travel ban. Fehr’s letter said the comments were spurred by a Jan. 30 email Gow sent to faculty, students and staff rebuking the move by the president.

Gow denied Dearman was fired for her politics, and shared more details of the incident. According to Gow, officials received a complaint that Dearman had told a student of Asian descent that the student’s people should go back to where they came from.

According to a letter sent to Dearman from UW-L Human Resources Director Madeline Holzem on Monday, Dearman was given the option to resign or be terminated. According to the letter, Dearman was investigated after a complaint from a coworker and found to have violated university employee policies against unbecoming conduct and threatening or abusive language.

Gow said any future decision to terminate any university employee would have to be reviewed by his office.

“As we’ve seen with this incident, people will ask questions,” Gow said. “I need to be fully informed we are doing the right thing.”


Nathan Hansen has been the Education Reporter for the Tribune since 2014. Prior to that, he covered education, agriculture and business topics for the Winona Daily News. He is always on the lookout for news tips and can be contacted at 608-791-8234.

(69) comments


Its too bad the educators at UWL cant stick to what they do best...teach. UWL is a teaching institution; no one is interested in the extracurricular political theatrics of a these wannabee liberal administrative types.

Just another self inflicted wound by UWL administrators. UWL is a good institution and it deserves better.


I feel it needs to be pointed out that Governor Walker made it easier for state employees to be terminated. You could make an argument that what she apparently said is grounds for termination, but I'd agree with the state lawyers on this one.


Wow, some of you are really gaga for Joe Gow! So desperate to get his attention, you might as well say, "Gow, Call Me!". Like a bad version of Fifty Shades of Liberal, you just want Gow to show up and punish all that crazy conservative right out of you....


When is the Faculty Senate going to hold a vote of 'No Confidence" in Gow??


Gow looked for another you know why he didn't get it. They saw a waffle pencil neck geek that he is. The people on the interview weeded out a dud. What they and he did to that Lady should get them all fired. What a disgrace to Lacrosse and the UWL system!!! Where are the women for Womens rights on this one!!


Women's rights groups only stick up fo liberal women, conservatives get the shaft. This lady is in law enforcement, that's a huge target on her back to start with for liberals. How many thugs did Odummy release from jail early ? Being in law enforcement, maybe she knows who the law breakers are, so she supported Trump. Those tolerant libtards, ONLY if you agree with them.


Way to play the victim card!

If she had been black, would you have played the racism card too?


You would be an expert playing the race card, it's the first offensive weapon of the left.

ida tarbell

I like a retort like yours that is pure prejudice, no logic applied to the facts. Keep on truckin' bruthah!


No logic? Race relations took a 40 year hit under obama. Have you ever seen such disrespect for authority ? It all happened under obama. Where is NOW. This lady needs to be defended, no matter what she did or didn't do. If she were black or a liberal the NOW cows would be all over this guy like stink on doo doo. Like you libs defend criminals.

ida tarbell

Wandered into this controversy tuning into WIZM 1410 News/Talk late Wednesday. The live local host was seeking comment on the Dearman dispute. The Host, a pleasant voice on the station afternoons, was casting more heat than light. Talk radio/tv draw more heat in their discussions of public affairs. Heat often gets bigger ratings. The normally pleasant host wanted to know what listeners "thought happened" at UW-L Administration. Gow was getting the raw end of this 'analysis!' The Host was, in essence, working like a heat-seeking missile. Gow was telling reporters he was a victim of 'fake news.' He should be careful using buzz phrases that surface during the Trump era. Forgot to bring my cellphone so couldn't jump in. It seemed to me the morning Tribune story needed more information. There was probably unavailable info that would lead to a reasonable solution to the controversy. Not for nothing is Gow a surviving official. He's weathered storms like this one before. Dearman's been re-instated which appears a just outcome. Hovering on the edge of the story are Dearman and her attorney 'considering the situation!': whither tis nobler to accept what Ms. Dearman wanted in the first place, her job, or to strike out and make a stab at a free speech lawsuit that could be a big pay-off? Just speculation mixed with a bit of Shakespeare, don't get excited. Ms Dearman used the wrong approach. It appears she got justice anyway. Given the details in today's paper, its likely Gow would have kept her job for her if he'd been in on the decision in the first place. It was an easy solution when the true facts that led to her firing, were reviewed.


Tower is an idiot. He lives in mommy's basement and uses her food stamps for cigarettes and beer.

ida tarbell

Who is Tower? What's he/She? got to do with this. Give it a rest, sport!


The staff and faculty of UWL have made themselves look like fools at least a dozen times over the last year. These repeating events are symptomatic of poor leadership.


Tower's upset because his mom wouldn't let him use her food stamps to buy more video games for him to play while living in her basement. Tower's 8th grade education often clouds his judgement.


Eighth grade?? You're giving him to much credit.

ida tarbell

You';ve got this fixation about Tower, but who the hell is that?


I think we are missing a few facts from both sides, yet people go ballistic. Gow had a responsibility to his staff and students regarding the travel ban communication via email (which was legally overturned). Did he get too emotionally caught up in it? Maybe, maybe not as we don't have a copy of it. He did revise it, as previously reported. UWL has many international students and staff that could be adversely affected by the, now 2, travel bans tRump has imposed and now ruled illegal. If this police dispatcher has been offered her employment reinstatement, she'd be wise to take it. Whatever cause led to her disciplinary action, one might expect UWL and employees to reevaluate their policy on expressing political opinions. There is a fine line to cross in this day and age when are have a POTUS that perpetuates divisive hate to ignorant masses with manipulative lies and deceitful practices. What are we to believe in an era of "alternative facts"?

Buggs Raplin

Bullsh*t. He took a political stand, then realized he shouldn't have done it. He then fired the woman without due process. He should apologize to her.


Or Buggs as someone who actually read the emails he sent he was expressing concern about how it might impact some students. If she did say something to a student she should have been fired.


BuggshitRaplin, do you ever read anything thoroughly? Gow didn't fire her. You must have skipped your rabies shot as you're like a mad dog foaming and attacking anything that Gow does or says. Yesterday's article: "I don't know this employee, and he (Fehr) is trying to put this on me," Gow said. "That's a claim without any real foundation."

Buggs Raplin

So who fired her?


@Super spots on, especially when the Liberals are affectionately "reefered" to as"libtards". It is not only cute ,it is totally clever.


Gow says he did not know this women, or her situation. So either he's lying, or you are all attacking him for no other reason than to pi$$ and moan about Liberals... Because for whatever reason, in your world, nothing is more terrifying than Liberals. They are the boogeyman, the reaper, and a bigger threat to America than North Korea.



In the original article Gow was quoted as saying, "We always follow due process and policy if anyone is let go."

Today the report says Dearman was terminated on Monday after an investigation by UW-L, which Gow said did not follow all of the due process requirements. Gow's quote today, “We should have investigated more fully,” he said. “We should have had a hearing. We were wrong on that.” I don't think Gow was lying so much as making statements without the benefit of facts. He walked back his original statement.

[PLEASE NOTE: It was Gow who said the University was wrong, not me.]

It's just business as usual here in the comments section of the Tribune web site. On one end we have people (liberals) automatically attacking Dearman without benefit of facts because she's not liberal. On the other end we have people (conservatives) automatically attacking Gow because they believe he led a witch hunt against Dearman because he is liberal. This is nothing new.

In the end, both Gow and Dearman (along with others at UW-L) hold some share of blame for this. Unfortunately, everyone here will disagree with this. There are people who will continue to believe Dearman or Gow were wrong with no middle ground. Unfortunately, even if Dearman returns to her job the tension is so high that the fire will likely flare again and the villagers will be back here calling for someone to be burned alive at the stake. Just another day here...

Buggs Raplin

How can you fire someone when you don't know her situation? He now admits due process was not followed. Joe's had a very bad week.


How dare Gow be concerned for the international students! If she said something to a student she should have been fired.


Dmoney, head down South and you can find lots of them on welfare. Better yet, try coal country. letgetbent, thanks for thinking of me. I was out helping a cancer patient get to her appt. After that I rescued a family of ducks from a storm sewer. What were you doing this AM, killing a box of puppies? This woman is the same piece of work most clownservatives are. Shoot their mouths off and cry when they get slapped down. All she had to do was keep her mouth shut. If she says she isn't coming back now she forfeits her lawsuit. She comes back, she can face the proper way to get fired. Either way, a win for the U.


It seems like you're describing yourself, toddler. All you have to do is keep your mouth shut. But you go right on and shoot your mouth off. Then you cry when you get slapped down, little fella.

You know a lot of coal miners, do you? Why do you suppose they're all on welfare? Do you suppose they hate Democrats because they killed their jobs or do you suppose they love the do-good liberals for making sure coal miners get the welfare they deserve (nothing more)?

Where did you find baby ducks today, toddler? Seems a bit early for this sort of rescue? Another lie?

You keep implying you have a college degree but you never answer questions when asked directly. What college gave you a diploma, toddler? Go ahead, respond with names... It seems you'll do anything to avoid answering this question.

The Veteran

tower the LIAR-----Where did you find ducklings in Wisconsin in the middle of March ?What an idiotic lying thing to say.What a fool you made of yourself AGAIN!!!!!


This is what is so disgusting about the teaching Profession today. What is Mr, Gow sending out papers against the Presidents decision to students anyway? Is that your job? The liberalism in colleges should not be encouraged, it is not the professors job to be political, your job is to teach the subject and leave your desires at home. I hope that will be something challenged soon, and it will all come to an end. Liberal Professors, find a new profession!!!


Did you read the emails he sent to students. He expressed concern about it because this might shock you it could effect some students at UWL.

The Mouse of Death

the Deerman women is a libberals so fire her and fire the Hilary and the Beeetbart Milo and the Bananon

Boat Cap

The basic problem is Joe Gow. He is a political person hired by the UW System to push the liberal agenda of the University System. All Mr. Gow speaks about is that he needs more money for himself and staff because that is a popular decision among his teachers and professors. It is obvious that he doesn't tolerate opposing views as he purports. The other behavior that Mr. Gow displays is that he always takes the credit about the "great things" the University is doing but is no where to be found when things go bad. It is never his fault as demonstrated by the fact that he didn't have "all of the information". It is time for him to leave UWL like he has been trying to do for some time now. Mr. Gow has tarnished the reputation of UWL. In short Mr. Gow has no credibility any longer as a Chancellor. He is certainly no leader that is for sure.


What a hateful comment. I hear many great comments about Joe except on this website. The way I see it you have twisted everything around to justify your conservative viewpoint. With my regular interactions with the UW system I do not find the problems you seem to think are liberal and anti conservative - sorry they don't agree with you and your conservative ideas, after all this isn't a partisan entity as you would like. Political opinions should be discussed elsewhere, not in the workplace.

Grand Dad's Bluff

Your would is your zip code...


BSletsgetrealax. Lot of name calling there. I have paid as much as $18,000 a year in federal income taxes during my career. You need to get a brain!


Nobody (except native Americans) should tell anybody to "go back to your country!"


As soon as I read that she was NOT fired for her political beliefs, I knew she WAS fired for her political beliefs.


Ha! a nutshell. [wink]

Wi Fan

Jobaba: Just a point of clarification, not all voucher schools are religion based. Think of vouchers in the same way as open enrollment, families can take their allotment and go wherever they want. I know you won't because it's all about the kids until the family makes a choice that you don't agree with.


75% of kids in religious schools prior to expansion are now on vouchers - in La Crosse. GOP = gimmee, gimmee, gimee! We need to break this cycle or it just breeds dependence.


Gow needs to go. He's been at UWL too long and when he can make a decision, which he usually does by some committee consensus, he makes the wrong ones. Nobody trusts him to take a stand on anything because he only seems to care about his own image and being liked by everyone, including the local community. Fundamentally he is a narcissist. He won't fundraise which is the main duty of a chancellor. People on campus have no respect for him.


I think about an eleven percent rebate on roofing nails. When I read this


Did none of you conservatives read this article? Trouble understanding what you read?

The University did not follow proper procedure. If she did what was claimed, she should have been fired, not offered a choice.

I doubt if many conservatives hold jobs, but for those that do - what would happen to you if you told a customer to go back where they came from?

Foreign students pay more to attend than in state students - if this was even a foreigner!

In Trump's America, deplorables are gunning down people that "look" like Muslims. Yes, you should be fired for being ignorant.


They don't even know what "procedure" is.


You doubt many conservatives have jobs? YOU are the welfare party. I don't know one conservative on any form of welfare. We earn our way, don't need or want help.


Sure, all you welfare cheating conservatives want us working taxpayers to send your little special snowflakes to religious school. Public school isn't good enough.

Republicans always have their hand out.


You'd swear they fingers are stitched together, every time their hand is out!


DMoney - I couldn't disagree more. I have several family members who are as red as they come, but if you try and talk to them about the assistance they receive, they become irrate. Whether it's badger care, disability, or farm subsidies, they do not care who's in office just as long as it ain't a Democrat.


Actually none of the deplorable ,lowlifes work, as I attended several Trump-Humper "rallies" You should see what some of these people look like.
Like the State Asylum bus ,just pulled in.
I am dead serious.
They all were left behind for a reason.

Speed Demon 2

Conservatives usually hold jobs in the private sector producing a product or service that someone voluntarily pays for. Liberals on the other hand sit home and wait for their taxpayer-funded check. Or they do nothing at government jobs.

no name no slogan

Although I sympathize with this person in her political leanings, I'm pretty sure this is the same person who I tried reporting an abandoned bike to behind the Girl Scouts building on Hwy 16. She was engaged in a conversation with a coworker, I tried reporting the abandoned bike and she asked, "How do you know it was abandoned?" I explained and she told me to go the La Crosse Police. It was obvious she was too lazy to do anything about stolen bike ditched on a trail.


At a job interview many years ago, I was asked about my nationality by one person. Shortly before that, another person (UWL employee) indirectly hinted that my political belief in a local concern was wrong (an Onalaska/La Crosse dispute). The second person walked out of the room after the first person asked the question about nationality and then returned after regaining his composure; he was visibly angry. I believe both men are no longer with the university. Years later, at a workshop, a UWL professor chastised me in front of the class (of largely older people or those who deal the elderly) for using the wrong crayon when making a pie chart of my identity. Now, after DNA testing of my parents and myself, I see that I should have been using even different colors of crayons! I found the current students at UWL to be very respectful of older people and alumni. I think the professors and support staff (mostly supervisors) need to examine their own ethnicity beliefs before attacking employees or students for beliefs other than their own. UWL is more into politics and public relations than a diverse campus environment. By the way, that second incident I described happened under the Gow administration. I hope Dr. Gow reads this reply.


UWL has a full time campus police dispatcher? Are you kidding me!


UWL graduates terrific students, but the faculty and administration have been detractors for some time with their preoccupation with liberal causes, safe spaces, and other denials of the adult world outside academia.

Hopefully, Gows turnabout on this matter is a sign of more common sense on campus.


I think Gow will be forced to resign sometime soon.


And brilla, there's probably NOT an 'obtimist ON you'. I doubt anyone would come within 6 feet of you.


Sounds to me like the next HR meeting for termination is Gow and the legal team. WOW!!! Girl power! Make the payday worth it as they have created an environment I would not return to and have spread it far and wide for your next interviews of employment!!! So sorry this had to happen, apparently Mr. Gow can have an opinion and share it with the entire organization but no one else can.


BSbilla: You must be delusional. Get a job, get off welfare, and then come back and comment as a contributing member of society.


Wow! A lawyer in La Crosse County defending a Trump supporter's freedom of speech? The optimist on me says: "I see a glimmer of light". The pessimist says: He is starving, fresh out of law school, and desperate. Hopefully he knows what side his bread is buttered on.




I didn't think there would be much comment from the Liberals, but the silence is deafening. I wonder if Tower, Teamster, and Grampa BS's moms won't let them out of the basement to access the computer??


Teamster: You union good old boys are not going to be around much longer. Better get ready to work for a living or retire Lazy A$$.


Tower? Grampa BS?


he's in deep doodoo


Now this will be used as a basis for Trump victim-ism.


Time for Gow to go. Please take Tower and Grampa BS with you. I hate when I'm Always right.



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