Jennifer Braly, a transgender UAFS student, was scheduled to give a guest lecture for Dr. Laura King’s General Psychology class on Friday, April 20th at 9AM. The lecture coincided with the class unit on gender and sexuality. Thursday afternoon, Ms. Braly received an email from Dr. Rita Barrett, Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Chair, which, according to Ms. Braly said,
“All of my faculty are now diligently preparing for the closure of the semester. They must be in compliance with their syllabi, grading, final exams, graduation exercises, etc. and it is impossible to afford more class time to accommodate an additional speaker at one week before finals.Therefore, your scheduled speaking engagements in any course in my department (PSYC, CJ, SOCI, ANTH) have been cancelled. This includes the two scheduled for tomorrow Friday April 20th in Dr. Laura King’s classes.”
Ms. Braly spoke with Dr. King after receiving the email and the two decided to go ahead with the lecture. Before class began, Dr. Henry Rinne, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, requested to speak with Ms. Braly in his office. Despite a letter of recommendation from Dr. Nicha Otero, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, according to Ms. Braly, she was told by Dr. Rinne that she would not be allowed to speak in any classroom at this University from that day forward. Ms. Braly reports that Dr. Rinne cited a lack of qualification to lecture in a University setting as the reasoning behind this decision.
(From the LionsChronicle, story written by Melanie Stout and J. Barnhardt)