Editor's note: Above video is a previous report on UI banning professor Denise Bennett from campus
MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has terminated communications professor Denise Bennett, who made headlines in late January after she was banned from campus amid accusations that she had been using meth.
A University of Idaho Panel recommended back in August that Bennett be fired. In an email, Bennett said UI President Scott Green accepted the panel’s findings and terminated her employment.
KREM 2 obtained audio from the dismissal hearing. Bennett leaked the recordings to the press.
"Every step of the way, she chose a course that was defiant and untenable, unworkable," a lawyer for the university said during the hearing.
During the hearing, UI argued that Bennett verbally assaulted a staff member. Her lawyer said Bennett was instead sticking up for a gay student who was associated with the project.
"She suspects the assistant has an anti-gay bias because of her religious display at work," her lawyer said during the hearing.
The University of Idaho argued that they didn't try to pick a fight with Bennett. When administrators tried to work with her, she became combative, they said.
"It requires adherence to well established and commonly accepted rules of behavior and conduct. Conduct. It's the failure and the refusal, and the continued refusal, of professor Bennett to conduct herself in accordance with those rules that brings us here today," the school's lawyer said during the hearing.
The alert that referenced guns and meth was based on a 2018 dispute with Bennett's husband that police responded to. Bennett never faced any criminal charges. This prompted the school to place her on administrative leave.
A UI dismissals panel called the alert problematic, but ultimately said both that and drug allegations against Bennett were unrelated to their decision. The panel found that Bennett was unprofessional, refused to work with the school, and recommended that she be fired.
Bennett's lawyer said the alert was unnecessary and that she was trying to do the right thing.
In a letter dated last week, UI's president accepted the panel's findings and fired Bennett.
The former professor in an email to the school and the press wrote: "The cruel messages sent to over 13,000 people each day made headlines nationwide and irreparably destroyed my career, reputation and way of life."
Bennett didn't provide any additional comment Wednesday. She says she plans to appeal her firing within the University of Idaho.