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Ellen Lewin, University of Iowa Professor, In Hot Water Over Incendiary Email To College Republicans

First Posted: 04/21/11 01:09 PM ET Updated: 06/20/11 06:12 AM ET

Ellen Lewin

University of Iowa Professor of Anthropology Ellen Lewin is in hot water for sending an offensive email to the school's chapter of the College Republicans, according to the Iowa City Press Citizen.

The missive, which simply read, F*** YOU, REPUBLICANS, was sent in response to an email blast from the campus group announcing "Conservative Coming Out Week."

Lewin, who teaches classes on feminist anthropology and the anthropology of sexual minorities, took issue with the tone of the email -- which used the rhetoric of traditionally marginalized groups to announce conservative events. She was also offended by the belittling of animal rights with an "animal rights BBQ," and by an event mocking the Wisconsin union protests.

Iowa Federation of College Republicans Chair and IU student Natalie Ginty responded to the obscene message by requesting a public apology. "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," she wrote in an email to Anthropology department head James Enloe, reports the Press Citizen. "Vile responses like Ellen's need to end...I am sure you understand that nothing is ever accomplished by aimless screams of attack."

Lewin complied with Ginty's wishes by apologizing for the language that she used, but maintained that the conservative group's mailing was unwelcome and distasteful. "I do apologize for my intemperate language, but the message you all sent out was extremely disturbing and offensive," she wrote." "I would really appreciate your not sending blanket emails to everyone on campus, especially in these difficult times."

In response to the controversy, university President Sally Mason issued a statement saying that although the school values and encourages diversity of opinion, she expects discourse to be respectful.

The Iowa Republic has full texts of the emails exchanged.

Do you think Lewin's response was inappropriate? Let us know in the comments section.

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Filed by Danielle Wiener-Bronner  |