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Two UNL profs protest against NRA lobbyist; one faces property destruction charge

Two UNL profs protest against NRA lobbyist; one faces property destruction charge

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Amanda Gailey, a faculty member in the English Department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with her sign on campus in 2017.

Two University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty members took their protests against the National Rifle Association to Virginia, and one faces a misdemeanor charge of property destruction.

The two — Amanda Gailey, associate professor of English, and Patricia Hill, a research assistant professor of sociology — separately participated in protests against NRA lobbyist Chris Cox of Alexandria, Virginia.

A third protester, Catherine Koebel, carried a sign or handed out flyers this month with Gailey, who was involved in a controversial protest at UNL last year. Koebel is a biologist who at one time was a visiting professor at William & Mary in Virginia but is no longer there.

A photo in an Alexandra newspaper shows Gailey holding a sign that says: “NRA Chris Cox profits off dead kids.” Koebel holds a large artificial check that reads, among other things: “Chris Cox Lobbying for Death & Terror.”

Gailey participates in Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, although Gailey and Koebel called themselves “The Great American Gun Melt” in Virginia.

The Alexandra Police Department said Monday that Hill was arrested on Jan. 11 and has a May 21 court date. She is charged with destruction of property.

UNL had little to say Monday about the developments. In a written statement, spokeswoman Leslie Reed said: “The university has nothing to do with these events. Amanda Gailey was acting on her own time and expressing her personal views. Patricia Hill’s actions are a local law enforcement matter in Virginia. It is premature for us to comment.”

[Read more: UNL student resumes recruitment for conservative group as officials call for civility on campus]Gailey gained attention last August for participating in a protest against a sophomore who was recruiting for Turning Point USA, a conservative organization. Turning Point keeps a “watchlist” of liberal professors across the country.

She carried a sign that day, Aug. 25, that read: “Turning Point: Please put me on your watchlist. Prof. Amanda Gailey.” Another person, graduate student/lecturer Courtney Lawton, flipped off the sophomore and made derogatory comments about her. Lawton hasn’t been invited back to UNL for the fall.

Hill, who couldn’t be reached Monday, is accused of throwing or spraying fake blood on the Virginia residence of Cox, the NRA lobbyist, in October and January, the Washington Post reported.

Libby Locke, a Cox family lawyer, said the vandalism included defacing the home with stickers.

“The Cox family does not view these activities as a peaceable protest exercise,” Locke said. “These coordinated tactics have crossed the line of civility and human decency.”

Gailey and Koebel, who didn’t return phone calls or emails Monday, told the Post they had done nothing wrong. They protested at Cox’s wife’s business as well as the Cox residence.

Gailey was quoted by the Post as saying: “I don’t think the Cox family is getting enough social pressure. ... I wouldn’t do that unless we were protesting someone who I believe is a truly indefensible human being.”

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

[Read more: Nebraska legislators divided on handling of UNL lecturer’s clash with conservative student]

rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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