LSU professor fired for vulgarity seeks to revive lawsuit

April 21, 2019 - 12:24 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former tenured LSU professor who was fired in 2015 for using vulgarity and discussing her sex life and the sex lives of students in her elementary education classes has asked federal appellate court to revive her lawsuit against the university.

The Advocate reports that Teresa Buchanan's suit was dismissed last year by a federal district judge in Baton Rouge.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans affirmed the dismissal. But, Buchanan's attorneys recently asked the entire 5th Circuit to rehear the case.

The lawyers contend that LSU's sexual harassment policies are too broad and that she was fired for "at least in part" for "constitutionally protected speech."

Buchanan trained elementary school teachers.

In dismissing Buchanan's lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick said the LSU Lab School and schools in Zachary, Port Allen and Iberville Parish had either banned Buchanan from their campuses or asked that LSU not allow her to mentor their student teachers because of her conduct and speech.

Buchanan claims the salty language was part of her teaching approach.

The 5th Circuit panel agreed with Dick that LSU did not violate Buchanan's free speech rights by terminating her because Buchanan was not speaking on a matter of public concern.

"Dr. Buchanan's use of profanity and discussion of her sex life and the sex lives of her students was not related to the subject matter or purpose of training Pre-K-third grade teachers," the panel stated.

It's unclear when the full court will issue a decision on whether to rehear the case.

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