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Tenn. Philosophy Professor Arrested

March 27, 1998

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) _ As students chanted ``Let her teach,″ a feminist professor accused of swearing at coworkers and belittling a student’s ``Christian agenda″ was arrested for defying orders that banned her from campus.

``I’ll be back,″ Laura Waddey, an adjunct philosophy professor at East Tennessee State University since 1989, yelled back to her supporters Thursday as police officers escorted her off university property.

Waddey had a class scheduled for this morning, but was not there and a substitute filled in.

Waddey was banned from teaching Wednesday after a faculty panel recommended that she be fired over nine charges alleging misconduct and insubordination.

When she arrived Thursday to teach her course on ethical issues about women, police charged her with aggravated criminal trespass. Waddey was released on $2,000 bond shortly after her arrest.

The university alleges that Waddey used profanity during a confrontation with a philosophy department secretary and two students, swore at the department chairman and told another student to drop her course because she had a ``Christian agenda.″

Waddey denies the allegations.

Ed Kelly, legal assistant to ETSU’s president, said course content was not an issue. ``The issue is treatment of students,″ he said.

Waddey’s supporters were upset at the professor’s treatment.

``She tries to introduce ideas contrary to the beliefs around here,″ junior Marc Helm said. ``I think ETSU has done a really bad job of handling this.″

Others said the university had done the right thing.

``Basically, this woman has got some problems and I hope she gets some help,″ said Zella Shumaker, the student Waddey accused of having a religious agenda.

A second faculty panel will decide whether Waddey’s dismissal stands.

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