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A University of Wisconsin-La Crosse police dispatcher claims she was fired for supporting Donald Trump.

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 political speech in support of President Donald Trump's travel ban. Fehr's letter said the comments were spurred by an email UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow sent to faculty, students and staff rebuking the move by the president. Gow denied Dearman was fired for her politics.

"I want to be very clear," Gow said. "We would never let someone go based on their political beliefs. We always follow due process and policy if anyone is let go."

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.

According to the university's definitions, unbecoming conduct is conduct, on or off the job, that adversely affects an employee's ability to continue to perform assigned duties or the university's ability to carry out its assigned mission, or that tends to promote mistrust or embarrassment of the university. Threatening or abusive language directed toward a supervisor, fellow employee or any other person is not allowed, and that includes offensive language, whether or not it's directed toward anyone in particular, and regardless of the intent.

Reached on Tuesday evening, Holzem said she was would not comment further because of possible legal action but did say Dearman had been terminated by the university. There is much more to the story, she said, but declined to elaborate.

The letter from Fehr states Dearman's remarks were in response to a Jan. 30 email sent to the campus community by Gow on behalf of UW-L leadership stating opposition to President Donald's Trump's initial travel ban. Gow's email said he was shocked and saddened by the order, which prohibited refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

Fehr's letter said Dearman told a coworker she supported Trump's travel ban and that it would prevent terrorists from entering the country. She also said those immigrants should go back where they came from.

Reached by phone on Tuesday afternoon, Fehr said no legal action had been taken by his law firm but he had asked the university to reinstate Dearman to her position. He has not heard from university officials, he said, and he assumes he will proceed with litigation.

"It is a very tragic situation," Fehr said, "that an employee in casual conversation would end up losing her job because another employee is somewhat offended."

Fehr said he was upset the chancellor didn't face any repercussions for his own political speech and said his actions were intended to alert the Board of Regents to the issue of political speech on campus. He said speech on campus should be diverse but felt university administrators were stifling certain points of view.

Gow said he took exception to those comments and said Fehr's actions seem designed to garner publicity and attention. After concerns were raised about Gow's email about the travel ban, the chancellor sent a second, apologizing for his comments and to make sure they didn't stifle discussion on campus, which he said is of utmost importance at a university.

"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."

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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.

(72) comments

ou812

CHICKENHAWK, BEING A COMPLETE LOOOOOOOOOOOSER IS NOW WAY TO GO THROUGH LIFE EITHER.

RedHawk

I don't want her, you can have her, she's too fat for me. Oink, oink!

letsgetreallax

Ha ha. Gow Again admits he was wrong. How long does La Crosse put up with this BS?

superman

No, he said he was not aware of who she was or her the situation. #FAKE NEWS

Robert Kitten

I'm wondering why someone hasn't posted a copy of the emails yet. Let us judge for ourselves.

letsgetreallax

Tower, Grampa BS, and all the other Liberal's on welfare are just plain idiots. They have never went to college. They wait for government handouts every day. Gow interviews at another University every other year, yet nobody else is dumb enough to hire this clown. He's a liberal freak who needs to be fired. Send your kids to Viterbo. Better school, and less Liberals.

RedHawk

I would fire her cuz she's too fat. Fat and stupid is no way to go through life.

superman

What a disgraceful thing to say about a person! You should be ashamed of yourself.

RedHawk

Pffffffffffffftttt

ou812

tower, you are a typical DUMBOCRAP WHO LIKELY HAS A NET WORTH LESS THAN ZERO, WHICH POSSIBLY IS HIGHER THAN YOUR IQ.

RedHawk

Easy one for the University, she wasn't intelligent enough to do her job, slamdunk!

tower

Send us your address and I will personally send you one shiney new quarter, which equals your share of the tax money you gave Gow for his salary.

crank

Don't be fooled! You will never receive the quarter he is promising to send to you. He only wants your address so he can throw roofing nails in your driveway.

Plus...Toddler could never do the math required to calculate your share of Gow's salary.

johnnybragatti

No doub this/has happened 9 million other times today ,this week,last week,next,
divided country, gets more divided .

patriot

Gow is a jerk, he needs to go bye-bye. I'll bet he couldn't even figure out how to hook up jumper cables to a dead car battery. Ticks me off that this jerk is living off my state tax dollars.

tower

Forgot Dudley, she probably did all the things you say as she is a clownservative.

tower

But Dudley, you can't count the short course as a degree, no matter what they told you. Who was with you to show you where the campus was?

crank

Look at you trying to be clever, toddler. [beam]

I keep asking and you keep avoiding...From which college it is you claim to have graduated? I'm really curious if it was the same place that taught you math. You know... '5% of $450 million = $5 million'. ...a short course, perhaps? [whistling] LMAO!

I'll say again... You really should stop pretending you went to college. No one is buying it, little fella.

capedcrusader

Well we know where Trump claims to have graduated from and yet nobody can produce his GPA. Kind of makes you wonder if he's as smart as he tells everyone he is. Maybe he's another Scott Walker and didn't really graduate at all .

Climatehoax

Liberals are beating people up, rioting, spitting on people, egging people, shutting down businesses, whining, calling for impeachment and everything else that's out of control. Do you really think firing someone is beyond what the loons will do? The Democrats have become dangerous.

capedcrusader

Weather hoax is getting to be as paranoid as Don Trump.

Buggs Raplin

Gow made the mistake of making a political statement on the ban and sending it out to everyone in the UW-L system.. He soon realized he'd screwed up, and sent an apology of sorts. If the woman fired had objected to his first e-mail, she should be retained, and be given an apology from Gow, like he had to do with Jay Lokken.

tower

Seth and the rest of the bed wetters don't know how she said anything. She could of harragued her fellow employee with a Trumpertantrum filled with vulgar racist comments. If she did she isn't the little darling the pinheads think she is & she should be fired.

crank

Yes, she 'could of'... She 'could of' completely lost it and fire-bombed a Black church and shot up an abortion clinic too (#blackchurchesmatter). Who can say for sure she didn't poop on Joe Gow's desk while she was at it, right? You know...because she's a vulgar racist... (for sure) [batman]

That imagination of yours is working overtime today, little fella. [rolleyes] You're crackin' me up!

Seth Poole

Easy tower. Tell your Mother to turn the lights back on in the basement. You obvisouly can't see what you are saying. Oh, and change your sheets for God's sake.

Seth Poole

Easy tower. Tell your Mother to turn the lights back on in the basement. You obvisouly can't see what you are saying. Oh, and change your sheets.

Ms L

State employees are not terminated for simply support Trump or agree with his policies. If they were, a large portion of my department would be terminated. The only whiner in this case is Dearman. We only know her version of the story. The worst part is it will be cheaper to pay her off than fight it so we will never know the truth.

Seth Poole

Gow gives his personal view and expresses his agenda/belief in an email, and then later walks it back. An Employee expresses their reaction to his initial email, gets reported by a probable Gow fan, and Dearman is in trouble. Gow should have known better in the first place. I am familiar with Dearman. Upstanding individual, no matter who she supports, or what she believes, she is entitled to those thoughts and believes every bit as much as Gow, maybe more. It's not like she expressed her views in an email to everybody. Probably stems from a private conversation with someone who doesn't share her views. Common sense would dictate give her back her job, say your sorry, or bring your check book, it's gonna hurt.

tower

Well cranky, I ask you a simple question and you start with the BS. How typical of you. I doubt you had either, the one you discribe and the made up one. After all, ag courses at UW only made you take courses in BS. And you graduated at the top of your class. You prove it with every post. Typical clownservative.

crank

What would you know about college, little fella? One thing you should consider about all those AG grads you just mocked is the fact they have something you don't, toddler...a college degree. Keep pretending...you ain't foolin' anybody. (...even the people with AG degrees.) [lol]

capedcrusader

Governor Walker doesn't have one.

Whatup Dog

Great, she will end up with nails in her driveway.[sad][sad][sad]

johnnybragatti

A woman supporting Trump is a little odd,
to each her own,
the only way any TRUE facts will be found out at a bar ,the gym or walking down the street.
It won"t be for the reason she stated.
Perhaps she got "fresh" with someone,
or snooty?
thru the grapevine

superman

What a bunch of whiny complainers! Liberals this, Liberals that....Liberals, Liberals, Liberals.... You're all of bunch of hate mongering trolls, who see their side as always being the victim. Go get some Kleenex, find a corner or safe place to curl up with your blankie, and cry it out you pretentious pansies.

fish37

like you repuks did for 8 years. lol

RedHawk

Superpuss!

Veteran65

Chancellor Gow is leading by example on how to give his personal view and utilize his right to freedom of speech thru his position of power within the UWL education system without fear of any reprisal yet he prohibits subordinates from doing the same. Then to make it all okay he sends out a second email when someone in his position should know better than to send the first email out in the first place. Politics is a heated topic on all sides and if you did not forsee students and staff having such a potential heated conflict over the issue then you should not be in your position of leadership Chancellor Gow. I believe that you knew exactly what that letter you sent would do but it is certainly unfair for someone to be fired for their political viewpoint when it was provoked in such a manner as this. Perhaps in the future the so called leadership of an institution for higher learning should reevaluate what they communicate to their students, faculty and staff. Personally I would choose to leave political commentary out of the University.

GrandpaS

The problem is that this story doesn't mention that due to strong regulations toward employee confidentiality, UW-L is not allowed to state all the facts regarding what happened to fully present their case. I'm not defending or accusing anybody in this situation because I have no idea what happened other than what's in this news story, but what if Dearborn was spreading her hate for Muslum immigrants on her computer or by phone while she was on the clock? What if her words were really hateful and just kept coming and coming? Again, I am not accusing her of this. I don't know what happened. I just find it hard to believe that UW-L or any other college would fire somebody for being a Trump supporter and/or stating her opinion about Muslim immigrants, but again, there are too many unanswered questions here, I think, to form an accurate opinion.

capedcrusader

You kind of hit the nail on the head. The article does state that "there is much more to the story". I suspect from both sides. I don't believe for one second she was just fired for being "a Trump supporter". I suspect she crossed the line and then wasn't happy that someone called her out on it.

tower

crank, who was the other one? I remember George Mosse pimping the he11 out of the left in classes. It was fun to listen to the back & forth. The rest of you who are knuckle draggers couldn't find UW L if they gave you a map.

crank

LOL! Toddler, you really should stop pretending you went to college. No one is buying it, little fella.

coolhandluke

I got the E-Mail from Gow, as I am a student, the E-mail expressed him being sad and stated that UW-L promotes people from any nation's rights. He had some tenor of a liberal bias, but he sent a second e-mail apologizing and re-stating not to take it as a political stance but a general comment about something that may be affecting some studenst and their families. All he did was reassure students that diversity will always be tollerated.

I'm going to go on a limb and say that this initial comment from her attorney is her recollection of the event and we have no idea what was said. she could have said something like "i don't want Muslims traveling here and the ones here should go bad" in earshot of a student who is Muslim". Either way, this is a stab in the dark and nobody knows what she said so shut up and stop whining about how all colleges are intolerant of non-liberal thought because it's the opposite. Anyone who has taken a class would tell you that everyone is free to voice their opinion and debate topics, but working there in an office setting you are under the same regulation as any workplace. If you haven't worked in a place where there are lots of people from all areas of the world, imagine an employee complaining about what incestuous morons people from Wisconsin are.

Rptdc

Well said. 👍

real life Justice

Gow is using DOUBLE standards, He can Use the UW computer to express his views of the travel ban. But staff can't DISAGREE, Its call the 1st amendment FREEDOM OF SPEECH. GOW can post on the computer which violates school policy but staff gets fired for voicing there OPINON. GOW should be fired.

ou812

So true about college profs. forcing liberal ideas down the students throats. It happens at Viterbo also.

coolhandluke

Where did you go to school? I study history and philosophy and have never felt like anyone was shoving their opinion down my throat. some teachers are conservative, some liberal but we are there to study facts. I took a course about the middle east last semester and when Donald trump was brought up the teacher said most of the people either don't care or see a candidate as doing anything that will change the region or that from what she has heard some like trump and did her best to STAY ON SUBJECT. We do not have time to listen to a teacher spout off the mouth about something that has nothing to do with our course.

crank

OU812 may be out of line using such a broad brush saying, "So true about college profs..." Your experience (and OU812's) may differ from mine. Generally speaking, I'll agree with you.

I went to UW-Madison (a long time ago) and had a number of professors who were obviously liberal. Very few were conservative. Most were as you describe but I recall two, specifically, who were so militant they would angrily debate students and literally insult them if they offered a dissenting point of view. Those classes were a lot like the comment section here on the Tribune web site.

One was a political science professor who supported Gary Hart during the 1984 presidential race. Her lectures may as well have been campaign events for Gary Hart. She was also a militant feminist. She was angry when Hart lost and even more angry when Ronald Reagan won the election. I mention her militant feminism only because she was so vocal about it that she blamed Mondale's loss to Reagan on men who refused to vote for a ticket with a female (Geraldine Ferraro). She was ridiculous.

Rptdc

Study and discussion of "facts" is the key. A novelty for some, including many in this discussion. Perhaps everyone should wait for the facts.

canman

Gow has been a joke during his tenure at UW-L. The staff and employees have been held to ever changing whims and policy updates that Gow doesn't follow. Most are afraid to say boo anymore unless they are in the chosen circle of Gowism. His management has lead to a few crying that they are offended by anything and everything that's not agreeable with their views. Just look at all the complaints and lawsuits filed.

Jobaba

Gow is in charge, that is why he can send an email. Gow has many many many foreign students…they and their families come and go just like Americans. The travel ban 1 point oh interfered with that.

Those of you that complain of liberal mindset at UW-L have either never gone or it was in the past…you actually know nothing about it or the teachers or the curriculum.

Having a child attend does not count.

This woman admitted in public that she supports Trump's travel ban? Working for an institution that accepts foreign students? So much for judgement.

Old Bowhunter

So we still have free speech as long as we tow the liberal line?

GrandpaS


So we still have free speech as long as we tow the liberal line?

Depends on which TV station you're on, I suppose.

Old Bowhunter

There is nothing more intolerant than a liberal/progressive. Say or do anything that they don’t agree with and you’ll be shouted down, called all sorts of names, in this case fired and have riots in the streets by their paid professional protesters. Heaven forbid anyone should speak out against their pro terrorist(called refugees) or pro criminal(called immigrants) beliefs!

LAX

Nitwit...

Old Bowhunter

Thanks for proving my point.

gmoney1769

She is claiming thats why. Wait till the facts come out but you didnt wait for that to make your decision.

GrandpaS

See, Old b, this is where the conservative argument gets stupid. All refugees are terrorists? All immigrants are criminals? My great grandparents came here from Germany. They became farmers, not terrorists or criminals. The Irish were very unwelcome when they started coming in to the east coast. Why? America has 100s of 1,000s of peaceful Muslims here. The percentage of them who are terrorists is probably about 1/zillionth of 1%. Those blanket statements show a lack of what's really going on. Illegal immigrants? Okay, let's slow them down. But condemning a whole group of people because a minute percentage of radicals get violent? That's pretty unfair.

Old Bowhunter

Just using the lefts words against them. I never said all refugees are terrorists. If you want to limit people from countries that are known terrorist strongholds the left claims that you hate all refugees. That’s a lie but they get away with repeating over and over. I never said that all immigrants are criminals. The left calls people who sneak across the border immigrants. They are not immigrants they are criminals. Immigrants get in line and follow the laws. Nobody has anything against that. You may not like the fact that they are criminals but calling them immigrants doesn’t change the facts.

crank

" After concerns were raised about Gow's email about the travel ban, the chancellor sent a second, apologizing for his comments and to make sure they didn't stifle discussion on campus, which he said is of utmost importance at a university."

Yet, it appears this woman was fired after she had a one-on-one conversation with a co-worker. She was given no opportunity to apologize. She was forced to either resign or be fired.

It seems, Mr. Gow, UW-L's policy in this instance is designed specifically to stifle discussion or (more precisely) to stifle dissent.

gmoney1769

Thats what shes claiming, that does not make it fact.

crank

And that's why my comment began with the words, "...it appears..."

olderthandirt

Gow sends emails all the time to students, leaning to the "liberal" point of view. Conservative values are not considered to have the same free speech as liberal left ideas on campus. Many teachers push this in their classes, not just political science classes either. As a parent of a college student, I know this for a fact. If you do not go with the Democrat flow, your grade can suffer. I hope an investigation can get to the truth in this case.

crawfishco

so glad my children didn't go there. It is total BS that the Chancellor sends out a message like that to begin with!

gmoney1769

He didn't. His email was stating facts and he had a measured tone and was sad how it might effect some students at UWL.

GrandpaS

How about some specific examples of this: "As a parent of a college student, I know this for a fact. If you do not go with the Democrat flow, your grade can suffer." I have to agree with this part: "I hope an investigation can get to the truth in this case.)

Buggs Raplin

What the (expletive) is Gow doing sending out an e-mail in his function as chancellor. That's totally inappropriate. If he wants to protest the travel ban, let him write a letter to the editor in the capacity of a private citizen.

Mi scusi

Buggs, yes, I agree. No place for his forum.

gmoney1769

He was sharing his concern about how it might effect students at UWL, but I guess according to you thats out of line. He also did it in a non-political and measured way.

Clarification

These won't display well, but worth it: Please use the PC alternative....
Alive
Temporarily metabolically abled.
Bald
Follicularly challenged
Body Odour
Non discretionary fragrance
Broken Home
Dysfunctional family
Caretaker
Site Engineer
Clumsy
Uniquely coordinated
Criminal
Behaviourally challenged
Dead
Living impaired
Dishonest
Ethically disoriented
Drunk
Chemically inconvenienced
Dustman
Sanitation Engineer
Fail
Achieve a deficiency
Fairy
Petite airborne humanoid with mystical powers
Fat
Horizontally challenged
Foreign Food
Ethnic cuisine
Ghetto
Economically disadvantaged area
Girlfriend
Unpaid sex worker
Gossip
Speedy transmission of near-factual information
Housewife
Domestic Engineer
Ignorant
Knowledge-based non-possessor
Illegal Aliens
Undocumented Immigrants
Jailer
Custodial Artist
Jungle
Rain Forest
Late
Rescheduled arrival time
Lazy
Motivationally deficient
Lumberjack
Tree Murderer
Natural Disaster
Global Warming occurrence
Prostitute
Sex worker
Sex change
Gender reassignment
Short
Vertically challenged
Shy
Conversationally selective
Spendthrift
Negative saver
Talkative
Abundantly verbal
Tall
Vertically enhanced
Trailer Park
Mobile Home community
Tramp
Homeless person
Ugly
Cosmetically different
Unemployed
Involuntarily leisured
Vagrant
Nonspecifically destinationed individual
White Trash
White Trash
Worst
Least best
Wrong
Differently logical

geemilt

I'm so old I remember the quote: " I hate what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." We live in a time when the watch word is politically correct speech as determined by our educated elite. I'm educated when do I get to decide what is proper speech and thought?

Slider

If you ask me, Gow has to go for hindering freedom of speech. How does an email prevent someone from doing their assigned duties.

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