Caitlin Sewell, now the former assistant general counsel for the University Of North Texas System, thought she could get a pass to use the N-word because she was on a campus panel discussion on First Amendment protections. She was wrong and now she is out of a job.
At an event called “When Hate Comes to Campus,” Sewell said during her presentation, “You know, you can say a lot of offensive things in here because it’s impossible to talk about the First Amendment without saying horrible things. Um, you know, ‘You’re just a dumb n***er and I hate you.’ That alone, that’s protected speech.”
Then she gave another example and this time censored herself, “If you walk into the dean of students’ office and start screaming obscenities about ‘F this place, F all of you, you’re all F-ing stupid,’ they can escort you out, and they can do that immediately. And you say ‘No, that’s my free speech right, no, I can tell them all to F off anytime I want.’ No, no. Because you’re in a non-public forum in that setting, and so the restriction only needs to be reasonable in order for you to do that.”
Thankfully, a student called her out and said, “Excuse me but why did you censor the F-word but not the N-word?” Sewell tried to say the word just slipped out and she has never said the word in public in her life. The crowd was not here for it.
UNT president Neal Smatresk said in a Thursday statement that Sewell’s comment “was not reflective of the values of our university community” and “While the individual was trying to make a point about First Amendment speech, this language is never condoned in our community which prides itself on our diversity and caring nature.”
He then released another statement that read, “In the coming days and weeks, it is our intention to engage in a dialogue with student and campus leaders regarding ways we can continue to foster a culture of diversity that is UNT. In the meantime, UNT counseling resources are available for all students, faculty, and staff.” The statement also read that Caitlin Sewell resigned. See below:
Caitlin Sewell learned that day, free speech does not come without consequences.