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Journalism student sues ASU, citing free speech rights

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ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in downtown Phoenix. (Photo: The Republic)

An Arizona State University journalism student is suing the school after she says she was removed from leading the student-run radio station over a controversial tweet.

The lawsuit claims that the university violated Rae’Lee Klein’s First Amendment rights to free expression by refusing to allow her to continue as station manager of Blaze Radio because of her tweet.

The university, in a statement to The Arizona Republic on Tuesday, refuted that claim, saying, “Klein’s conduct in the aftermath of the tweet — rather than the tweet itself — meant that she was no longer able to perform the job for which she was hired.”

But Klein said she was first scolded about her tweet and later scolded for her media appearances and conversations with elected officials as her situation gained attention. 

“They were first upset by my free speech and now they’re upset that I’ve become this cause célèbre for free speech, so it’s just disappointing to see them keep taking the same stance and not want to work or correct the situation,” Klein told The Republic. 

Jack Wilenchik, Klein’s attorney, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on Monday against ASU, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and Kristin Gilger, Cronkite interim dean.

Klein faced swift backlash from within and outside her radio station after a tweet she posted in the aftermath of police shooting Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23. Klein shared a New York Post article with graphic details from a police report accusing Blake of sexual assault.

The Aug. 29 tweet, deleted later, was captioned, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be

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ASU Provost Mark Searle announces plan to step down June 2021

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Arizona State University executive Vice President and University Provost Dr. Mark Searle, right, presents CNN anchor Anderson Cooper with the annual Cronkite award for excellence in journalism during a luncheon at the Sheraton in Phoenix on October 17, 2018. (Photo: Cheryl Evans/The Republic)

Arizona State University Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Searle will step down from the position on June 30, 2021, university President Michael Crow announced on Wednesday in an email to students. 

Searle has held the position since November 2015 after serving as its interim in the seven months prior, Crow said. He’s expected to transition into a professor role at the university, assisting the president and next provost with “the implementation of strategic initiatives,” Crow said. 

“I am deeply grateful to Mark for the time, energy and expertise he has dedicated as university provost,” Crow said. “Our academic enterprise has been led to new heights under Mark’s leadership with record enrollment, student diversity and retention and graduation rates.”

“We have become a stronger, better university because of his unwavering commitment to excellence,” he continued.

According to ASU News, Searle told Crow in January he planned to step down next summer.

He first joined ASU in 1995 as the founding dean of the College of Human Services, according to ASU News. He went on to serve as provost of West campus, vice president for academic personnel and deputy provost and chief of staff to the provost. 

“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve at ASU during such a phenomenal time of growth and achievement,” Searle told ASU News. “Over the last decade and a half, ASU has grown into such a strong community of scholars, educators and public servants that share a common commitment to our charter. And that commitment has been nothing

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ASU football QB Jayden Daniels graded behind Arizona’s Grant Gunnell

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One site’s apparent disrespect for ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels continues.

As does it apparent love for Arizona quarterback Grant Gunnell.

Pro Football Focus recently released its grades for returning Pac-12 quarterbacks and Gunnell is No. 1 on its list at 81.5.

Daniels is No. 5 at 66.7.

Gunnell threw for nine touchdowns and had one pass intercepted last season.

He completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,239 yards.

He started just three games last season as a freshman in Tucson, splitting time with Khalil Tate.

Daniels threw for 2,973 yards and 17 touchdowns, with two interceptions, in his first season in Tempe.

He completed 60.7% of his passes.

MORE: ASU football’s Jayden Daniels nowhere to be found on Pac-12 preseason football team

Pro Football Focus’ grades and rankings have a different methodology than many other sites.

It grades players not just on stats, but on other categories such as a quarterback’s decision-making, the accuracy of his passes and timing.

Pro Football Focus attempted to explain its rankings:

“This list is largely based upon the starting quarterback’s success …, but it is also affected by the situation around him with other quarterbacks on the roster who may have received snaps or sustained injuries. No list is ever 100% accurate, but with our wealth of data at our fingertips, we get as close as anyone can.”

It continued: “These rankings are based heavily on the individual player’s PFF grades for the season. The avoidance of negatively graded plays, the propensity for positively graded plays, the strength of competition