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Faculty Panel Recommends Professor Be Reinstated

June 13, 1988

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ A faculty panel at Georgia Southwestern College has recommended that a white professor accused of making a racist remark to a black female student be reinstated but be barred from teaching freshmen.

The recommendation is not binding on the president.

The five-member panel, which included four whites and one black, unanimously cleared Allen Towery of three charges of violating state Board of Regents policy, said Towery’s attorney, Eugene Black Jr.

Towery, an English professor, also was cleared by a 4-1 vote on a fourth policy-violation charge, involving the racial comment; Jacqueline Willis, the only black on the panel, dissented on that vote, Black said Sunday.

The panel, however, recommended that Towery not be assigned to teach freshman classes, Black said. The student involved in the case was a freshman.

″I feel that we were vindicated,″ the attorney said.

Towery, who has taught at the school for 18 years, declined to comment.

Clifton Baxter, the professor of business who was chairman of the panel, said the group deliberated about 20 hours Thursday and Friday before completing its report to Georgia Southwestern College President William H. Capitan.

Baxter declined to discuss its contents.

College spokeswoman Patty Plotnick said Capitan postponed a scheduled trip to Asia so he can review the report.

Black, who received a copy of the report Sunday, said the panel found Towery innocent of immoral and obscene conduct, default of academic integrity and failure to carry out assigned responsibilities to students.

Ms. Willis dissented from the panel’s fourth finding that Towery was innocent of racial or sexual harassment, Black said.

The case was initiated after freshman Ginevra Dennis, 18, of Atlanta, said Towery called her ″a black bitch.″

Testimony at the hearing showed the comment was made after she demanded a ″withdrawn passing″ grade from Towery’s freshman English class. She was failing with only two weeks left in the class.

Capitan suspended Towery with pay March 11, four days after Miss Dennis’ complaint.

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