A dismissal hearing for University of Idaho professor Denise Bennett has been scheduled for 8:15 a.m. Monday at the University Plus Best Western Inn in Moscow, according to a news release from Bennett’s lawyers.
Bennett, a tenured mass media professor who has worked at the university since 2006, was placed on administrative leave effective Jan. 24 after she sent an email to university administrators about what she said was the university’s poor handling of grant funding and lack of maintenance at the Radio-TV Center on the Moscow campus.
The following week, she posted an expletive-laden Facebook livestream in which she criticized UI administration and read aloud from a letter detailing the reasons she was placed on paid leave.
The day after the livestream event, UI officials issued a university-wide emergency alert stating Bennett had been barred from campus, alleging she had recently admitted to using meth and had access to firearms.
The alert also advised students to call 911 if Bennett was seen on campus. Capt. Tyson Berrett, who heads the campus division of the Moscow Police Department, said the alert referred to a Nov. 4 police report detailing a domestic dispute involving Bennett in which she allegedly told police officers she had used meth the day before.
The firearms mentioned in the report were being loaded into a car. Berrett said at the time that Bennett was not considered to be violent or dangerous.
According to the release — from the Moscow firm of Landeck, Forseth and Luna, Attorneys at Law — Bennett has issued two tort claims, one against the Moscow Police Department and the other against UI. She also appealed the no trespass order but was denied. University officials said they were unable to discuss details of specific disciplinary proceedings but a dismissal hearing can result in anything from full reinstatement of the employee in question to termination.
The release states a dismissal hearing committee will make a recommendation to new UI President Scott Green, who will make the final decision regarding Bennett’s employment.