UNL Faculty Senate leader’s rocky tenure ends with his ouster

LINCOLN — The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Faculty Senate ousted its leader, Jeffrey Rudy, Tuesday afternoon.

Rudy, a professor of practice in athletic training education, had been in the position since April but had a contentious road as the faculty’s leader. The Faculty Senate voted 41-19 to remove him.

Among other things, he had accused the Faculty Senate executive committee of having a “mole” who  leaked information to the news media. Rudy also declined last month to personally present two members of the English department with the James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award, even though the Faculty Senate voted to give them the award.

The English department was in the middle of an academic freedom fight in 2017-18 when a graduate student-lecturer from that department was virtually fired for berating an undergraduate for recruiting for the conservative Turning Point USA. The incident received national attention. The graduate student, many professors said, wasn’t given an appropriate hearing before she was disciplined.

Rudy’s refusal to present the award signaled his disappointment at the two English department faculty members getting recognized after such a rocky school year for their department.

He also hoped to keep from disclosing to the public the members of a faculty committee assigned to look into how UNL could get off of the American Association of University Professors’ censure list.

Rudy was criticized to some extent by colleagues for all of those decisions and actions.

The Faculty Senate president oversees meetings, helps set the faculty’s agenda and priorities, and represents the UNL faculty before the NU Board of Regents.

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