LAWRENCE, Kan. — Brenda Councillor admits she was a rabble-rouser on the campus of Haskell Indian Nations University.
But it still came as a shock when she discovered over the holidays that she had had been graduated — and kicked out of her dorm room — against her will.
University administrators admit they waived her last semester and a required course, but they deny it was to get rid of her.
Councillor isn't so sure.
"I get a call from the registrar, and he says 'I have some good news — you're graduated,' " recalled Councillor, 45, who is originally from Wisconsin. "I feel like I've been banished."
As a member of the student Senate, Councillor had complained loudly about university President Linda Sue Warner's decisions. Councillor circulated a petition last fall seeking the removal of Warner, who has had a stormy relationship with students and the Board of Regents during her two-year tenure.
But Warner insisted this week that had nothing to do with Councillor being barred from the dorms, locked out of her campus e-mail account and getting her diploma early.
"I can't imagine that it did," Warner said.
Warner said the university registrar decided to waive Councillor’s final required course. Warner noted that Councillor had 10 more credits than required for a degree and has been on campus for four years. She said the university wants students to make academic progress and graduate so other students can enroll.
But Warner acknowledged that the university has "administratively graduated" only one other student in the past, and that other students take five or six years to graduate without officials taking similar action.
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