A campus-wide recruitment solicitation by University of Iowa College Republicans was met Monday with a vulgarity from the unlikeliest of people: A faculty member.
"F--- you, Republicans," professor Ellen Lewin fired off to the GOP group, who a day earlier asked conservative students to get involved in club activities. The message came from Lewin's university account.
"Conservatives in Iowa City, it is now time to come out of the closet!" the group's pitch read.
But Lewin, a women and sexuality studies professor, objected to the group appropriating language employed by gay rights campaigners and said in a later email her passions were inflamed amid "fresh outrages committed by Republicans in government."
When the group found Lewin's initial explanation made insufficient amends, it leaked the exchange to a local political news website and demanded a full apology from her superiors.
"We understand that as a faculty member she has the right to express her political opinion, but by leaving her credentials at the bottom of the email she was representing the University of Iowa, not herself alone," Natalie Ginty, who chairs the College Republican group, wrote in an email to a University of Iowa department chair. "Vile responses like Ellen's need to end."
As University spokesmen said school officials were reviewing the email exchanges, Lewin was forced to issue an apology Tuesday. But her mea culpa was nearly as sharp as her offending message.
"She referred to me as Ellen, not Professor Lewin, which is the correct way for a student to address a faculty member, or indeed, for anyone to refer to an adult with whom they are not acquainted," Lewin wrote. "I admit the language was inappropriate, and apology for any affront to anyone's delicate sensibilities."
The College Republicans' email, appended in full below, was approved first by university officials before it landed in Lewin's inbox per an email policy allowing approved student clubs to send one campus-wide email a semester.
UPDATE: The bitter emails whirling around the University of Iowa have prompted a response from GOP club's national umbrella group.
"This is just another egregious example of the pervasive liberal bias on college campuses and the utter contempt liberals and Democrats have for any views other than their own," College Republican National Committee executive director Jeremy Hagen tells Beltway Whispers in an email. "Sadly enough, however, the vulgarity and disrespect Professor Lewin showed conservative college students is not surprising."
"For the better part of a century, campus conservatives have been treated like second-class students by many professors and administrations," Hagen continued, needling Lewin with cooped language the professor might again associate with gay rights advocacy. (Note to Lewin's future students: Steer clear of "coming out," "second-class" citizens and referencing the professor by first name if you wish to survive unscathed.)
"This is one of the major reasons why College Republican clubs continue to exist: To give conservative students a voice and a place to express what they believe without repercussion or judgment from the liberal ivory tower of academia."
From: UI College Republicans
Subject: [NonAcadStudorg] Conservative Coming Out Week
Conservatives in Iowa City it is now time to come out of the closet!
I know at times it feels like you are the only person that disagrees with this liberal town, but you are not alone! We are asking all Republicans, Independents leaning right, or just anyone slightly frustrated with the current one party controlling every level of Johnson County, and some levels of Iowa and U.S. government to STAND UP!
Conservative Coming Out Week will be April 18th - April 22nd. Here is the schedule of events that will be going on throughout the week:
Monday: Whose Conservative Anyway? Guess which athletes, movie stars, and performing artists are Republican. 11-1 on Kautz Plaza off of the T. Anne Cleary Walkway.
Tuesday: Red vs. Blue Blood Drive from 2 to 6pm at the Carnival Room in Burge. Competition between the Republicans and Democrats for a good cause!
-College Republican meeting that night at 8pm in 71 Schaeffer Hall with showing of "Journey's with George" in honor of President George W. Bush.
Wednesday: Come pick up your Doctors' Notice to miss class for "sick of being stress", just like the Wisconsin public employees during the union protests from 11 to 1 on the Pentacrest.
Thursday: Red vs Blue games! Beat the UDems in kickball and flag football from 4-6 in Hubbard Park. Wear your respective political parties color!
Stick around for a Animal Rights BBQ at 6 p.m.
Friday: Wear RED Day! Come out of the closet and show your true colors!
Should be a great week! Lets come out!