This is a screenshot of video taken by Channel 2 Action News of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren at a rally for Stacey Abrams at Clayton State University on Oct. 9.
“I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the Abrams campaign along with Senator (Elizabeth) Warren are visiting campus tomorrow ... They would like a really big turnout. To help out I’m offering the following opportunity: If you attend ... I’ll add 2 bonus points to your final grade.”
RELATED: University professor offered extra credit for students who attended Abrams' event
Allen said offering extra credit wasn’t a mistake, since she would’ve offered the credit regardless of the political party or the event. However, she said her email had a poorly chosen word that became misconstrued as political endorsement.
“In my email, I incorrectly used the word ‘they’ (would like a really big turnout). I was referring to the student Social Sciences Society (which hosted the rally) — not the Abrams’ campaign,” Allen said.
She said the initial statement Clayton State sent out regarding the incident falsely presented her as a left-leaning academic. She also said it was sent before she got to see it.
“I’m not a Democrat. I’m not a Stacey Abrams supporter,” Allen said. “They cut me out of the loop, which is infuriating to me. No one could be bothered to email me or talk to me until the story comes out on the news.”
The statement, obtained by Channel 2 on Oct. 9, said, in part: “The professor acknowledges she had made a mistake and agreed to fix it by offering extra credit for all political events.”
Allen said she told Maritza Ferreira, the university’s vice president of marketing and communications, several times that her offering extra credit was not a “mistake” and that the statement made her sound politically motivated.
“I was called by (Ferreira), and she read me the statement sent to the media, and I immediately said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I called it fake news,” Allen said. “I said, ‘This is completely inaccurate, and you’re throwing me under the bus.’”
Allen said the other faculty members who offered extra credit for the rally have received no repercussions, but the university has refused her demands to issue a correction to the earlier statement.
She also said the university ordered her not to comment on the incident at the time, which a university spokesman denied to Channel 2 on Monday.
However, her husband Scott Jacques, associate professor of criminology at Georgia State University, sent AJC.com an email sent to Allen by Clayton State president Thomas “Tim” Hynes Jr. that said, in part:
Tim Hynes (Photo: Channel 2 Action News)
“Maritza (Ferreira)’s request that you not speak to the media or post to social media is not at all unusual in dealing with media on events that have drawn considerable controversy.”
Channel 2 was also sent audio recording of a phone call between Hynes and Allen where he can be heard saying: “It is apparent to me from the outset that it was the crafting of a grammatically problematic sentence to a class on D2L that was interpreted as giving meaning that I never believed you were attempting to express.”
On Wednesday, a university system spokesman told the news station that no investigation by the university system or Clayton State was ever opened into Allen’s claims or the incident.
Jacques, however, sent AJC.com an audio recording of him speaking to Jim Flowers, Clayton State director of special projects, who told him there “is an ongoing investigation” at the time of the call.
“I don’t know if Clayton State is being negligent or malicious,” Jacques said.
Allen said she has now offered extra credit if her students attend any civic engagement to be fair to those who could not attend the Abrams’ event.
The Abrams’ campaign previously sent a statement to Channel 2 that said, “Our team did not suggest to this or any professor that extra credit should be offered to students.”
The university spokesman also said Clayton State does not provide support to political candidates or parties, and the university considers this matter closed.
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