University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Professor Sues Former Student for Posting Defamatory Comments, Videos Online


Sally Vogl-Bauer, Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, has filed a lawsuit against a former student for the derogatory comments and videos he posted online.

Llewellyn posted videos on YouTube and comments on and about Vogl-Bauer's behaviour in the Communication class in spring 2013. On professor-rating websites, Llewellyn accused the teacher of labelling him as a horrible student, criticizing his academic abilities, giving unfair grades - causing him to fail.

Llewellyn said that he confronted Vogl-Bauer about her attitude in April - two months before being informed that he failed her class. He also tried to express his concerns with UW-Whitewater Department of Communication faculty and staff as well as the university administration, but in vain. Llewellyn eventually sent emails to the Eastern Communication Association, Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission describing Vogl-Bauer's behavior as "degrading, demeaning, verbally attacking," according to court documents.

The professor decided to sue Llewellyn when he refused to remove the online comments and videos. While Vogl-Bauer claimed that Llewellyn resorted to defamatory behaviour, the defendant said that he just wanted to inform public about the professor's treatment. It is important that the comments stay online for the welfare of the students.

"I don't feel I've (gone) too far with my videos and comments because everything I posted, basically communicates exactly how Sally Vogl-Bauer treated me," Llewellyn said, Huffington Post reports.

Tim Edwards, the attorney representing Vogl-Bauer, said that the comments risk the reputation of the professor in the academic community. Students are permitted to voice their opinions but making false statements with a deliberate intention of damaging a person's image is not tolerated.

"But when you go so far beyond that, into a concerted effort to attack somebody's reputation because things didn't go your way, that's much different," Edwards said.

The lawsuit alleges Llewellyn "engaged in an intentional, malicious and unprivileged campaign to defame Dr. Vogl-Bauer, resulting in substantial economic, reputational and emotional injuries," Gazette Extra reports.

Through the lawsuit, the professor is seeking punitive damages and attorney and trial fees.

Makayla McGinnis, a UW-Whitewater sophomore majoring in political science, said that there are situations when comments get out of control."....if someone hates that professor, they can go on there and trash them."

A jury trial is scheduled in September.

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