Tennessee Tech Will Take Action on Professors for ‘Harassing, Threatening, and Intimidating’ Turning Point USA Students, Advisor

Tennessee Tech University


After reviewing the incident of professors posting flyers targeting a Turning Point USA (TPUSA) advisor and students, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) stated that they will take action. Andrew Smith and Julia Gruber were identified as the professors who posted the flyers on campus.

In the investigation memorandum, the investigator recommended that TTU find the two professors in violation of TTU Policy 600 (Code of Conduct). In accordance with the TTU Policy 650 (Disciplinary Action), TTU will weigh the severity of the infraction to determine disciplinary action. That might include a verbal or written warning, performance improvement plan, suspension with or without pay, demotion, disciplinary probation, or termination. Ultimately, TTU Vice President for Planning and Finance has the final authority on interpretation of this policy for disciplinary action.

However, the investigator classified the professors’ behavior as “threatening” – which may mean that TTU would follow TTU Policy 603 (Workplace Violence Prevention). That would mean the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, or their designee, has the final authority on policy interpretation for disciplinary action.

“The content of the flyer was intended to harass, intimidate, and threaten not only Complainant but other faculty, staff, and students whose views and opinions were contrary to those held by Respondents,” read the investigation memorandum.

Disciplinary action for a violation of that policy is similar to TTU Policy 650 – anything up to termination.

TTU policy stated that the university strictly prohibits retaliation for reporting policy violations.

One of the professors, Smith, claimed in a Facebook post that these flyers were protected speech by the First Amendment and the Tennessee Campus Free Speech Act.

Additionally, Smith posted that he and Gruber would be interviewed Monday on the radio show, The Rude Pundit, and streamed via Smith’s radio page, Teacher On The Radio.

Smith revealed via his radio page that he and Gruber had brought on a lawyer to fight TTU’s investigatory conclusions – Nashville attorney Robb Bigelow. He claimed that Donadio’s decision to go to the police was more threatening.

“Both Gruber and Smith decry such a deceitful characterization, since calling out racism is precisely intended to curtail the culture of harassment and intimidation they believe the far-right White Supremacists have created at Tennessee Tech, through groups like TPUSA and others,” wrote Smith. “To be clear, Smith and Gruber called out a colleague’s documented racism on a flier, a traditional and protected free speech activity. Their accuser went to the police to get Smith and Gruber fired. Which action is in fact more threatening?”

The investigator noted in the memorandum that their findings would be given to TTU Vice President for Planning and Finance for further action.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tennessee Tech University” by Brian Stansberry CC 3.0.







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12 Thoughts to “Tennessee Tech Will Take Action on Professors for ‘Harassing, Threatening, and Intimidating’ Turning Point USA Students, Advisor”

  1. FB

    >>as documented by SPLC and ADL<<

    That's all the evidence that's needed to determine that the accused have based their philosophies, words, and actions on the output of (at least) two known documented anti-American anti-fredom hate groups.

    Additionally, the two accused should be terminated for cause. Their failure to do research on the two hate groups – whose records are easily available for scrutiny – has highlighted their incompetence. Though perhaps it is culpability rather than ignorance. If so, they should be "annulled" becasue of their support of discriminatory organizations.

    Regardless, schools at all levels are for education, not propaganda, and if the school system does not return to its' raison d'être, it should be left to fall apart while students seek other venues.

    Just think of how devalued the TTU diploma will be if such activities are alowed to continue, if proponents of such are not disciplined. I foresee a dismal future for the once-distinguished Tennessee Technological University and its' host, Cookeville.

  2. JB Taylor

    Fire them Immediately! It’s time to STAMP OUT Cancel culture.

  3. Boyd

    Kudos to Tennessee Tech, I just knew we had at least one good college in Tennessee. Cancel “Cancel Culture”!

  4. Wolf Woman

    How fortunate for TTU that they have their very own social justice warrior faculty member. She teaches German. Wonder if she’s read Mein Kampf.

  5. Fire these anti American Subversives! There is no place in Education for Marxist anti American indoctrination, cancel culture, and threats and intimidation to our youth and college students.
    Tennessee’s Honorable Citizens/Patriots demand the end of communists insidious assault on our Rights, Constitution, our children, Our Home/Our Nation!
    As part of the hiring process Tennesseans and all Honorable Americans demand that Subversives be eliminated from the hiring process. Subversives do not have the right to preach hate, intolerance, “Change,” Marxism the new Democrat Racism, anti White and anti America in our Education system!

  6. Gordon Shumway

    fire these commies

  7. Dr Ken

    As a retired professor, there is no question if any faculty member intimidates, threatens or bullies another faculty member, associated staff or students, that the aggressor needs to be dismissed without pay, without benefits, immediately.

  8. Horatio Bunce

    “Respondent A is “the exact opposite of what TPUSA stands for, and I think that I have freedom of speech to express that opinion.”

    But the students joining TPUSA do not have first amendment rights to freely assemble, correct? Because you say so?

    “During the interview, Respondent A emphasized the reconsideration of “my actions within an hour and a half”

    So, after taking down (a.k.a. censoring) his own free speech and regrettably realizing he couldn’t completely hide it and was outed, he then reconsidered some more and doubled down to write some Facebook posts.

    Posting these flyers at 3:30pm….are there other cameras…maybe at the copy machines? Whose paper and toner are these professors using for their free speech? Tax-paying minds would like to know. They claim to have a “list” (while demonizing TPUSA for having one). Who else is on their “list”?

    Respondent B…noted “there are other conservative organizations for students to join on campus.”

    LOL, in other words, “we have enough diversity and don’t need any more diversity. You should fit in with the diversity we currently approve”.

  9. Debbie Lamb

    As a TTU Alumni, I find their actions embarrassing and disturbing. Tech does not need faculty that harasses students and other employees due to their different beliefs. They are acting out what they claim to be taking a stand against. Hypocrisy!

  10. Kevin

    This issue points to the same root causes as most of our government induced problems. The State run higher education system has lost sight of it’s singular mission and is not being held accountable.

    Do you really need an ASSOCIATE Vice President for Human Resources, their designee, or even a TTU Vice President for Planning and Finance, to teach young adults college level material? While each of these clowns is making 6-figure salaries, they represent just a small segment of the bloated, out-of-touch “education system.” And don’t get me started on the Tennessee “Education” Lottery boondoggle. .

  11. Dwight Ledbetter

    Julia Gruber has done nothing but stir up controversy in our town and needs to go!

    1. Gordon Shumway

      you’d think a ‘professor’ of german wouldnt be so quick to act like a nazi.