CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Clayton County professor now says she felt pressured to offer extra credit for a political rally.
Channel 2 Action News reported on Clayton State University criminology professor Dr. Andrea Allen's email to students earlier this month and it gained national attention.
On Monday she spoke exclusively with Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne, telling him the university issued a statement on her behalf and she knew nothing about it.
In the latest statement from Clayton State University, it said: "The language used in Dr. Allen's post to her class was in violation of the faculty handbook and Board of Regents' policy because it had the effect of being partisan, regardless of her intent."
Allen said that’s not true and neither was a key portion of an earlier university statement.
“The professor acknowledged she had made a mistake and agreed to fix it by offering extra credit for all political events,” Winne read to Allen from a previous statement by the university.
“Is that true?” Winne asked Allen.
“No. I never said I made a mistake. Ever. I never said I would offer extra credit for any political event to fix the mistake,” Allen said.
Allen told Winne that the public has been left with a false image of her as a left-wing academic, largely because of a statement the university put out about her and a controversy involving a rally on campus for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“I lean more towards the right. I am not a Stacey Abrams supporter,” Allen told Winne.
Allen said a colleague repeatedly pressured her to offer extra credit to her students if they attended the rally. She finally gave in and sent an email that said in part: They would like a really big turnout and "to help out" she was offering extra credit.
The associate professor said her email was poorly worded and she meant to suggest the student organization sponsoring the event wanted a big turnout, not the Abrams' camp.
Allen said she repeatedly made this clear to a university spokesperson before the spokesperson sent Channel 2 Action News a statement Allen said is false.
Even before that, Allen said the spokesperson ordered her not to return Winne’s calls.
The latest statement from Clayton State University said Dr. Allen, "was asked to offer the extra credit by her colleague, who was the founding sponsor of the student organization that coordinated the event.
“The language used in Dr. Allen’s post to her class was in violation of the faculty handbook and Board of Regents’ policy because it had the effect of being partisan, regardless of her intent. We became aware of the situation when a student complained, and it was posted to social media. She has since corrected this by offering extra credit to her class to attend any civic engagement event.
“We have never prevented Dr. Allen from speaking to the media. Given the nature of the contacts she was receiving on October 9 from the media and others, we offered to assist her and asked her to direct all inquiries to our communications office.
“She is a valued member of the Clayton State faculty and we appreciate her many contributions to the University."
“A simple clarification could’ve cleared this up,” Allen told Winne.
Allen said the university has refused her demands to issue a correction and to back her claims she said she has recorded phone calls with university president Tim Hynes.
“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,” Hynes said in the recording.
“I have absolutely no doubt at all about your integrity and your intent,” provost Kevin Demmitt said in another recording made by Allen.
Allen said university officials have maintained she acknowledged a mistake in the wording of her email by not making it clear. She said that is not the meaning conveyed in the university's first statement that was issued on Oct. 9.
Allen said she did not violate university policy, nor did she violate the board of regents policy.
Allen acknowledged she has now offered extra credit for attending any civic engagement to be fair to students who couldn’t make the Abrams event.
Cox Media Group