LINCOLN — Like the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s faculty, Walter “Ted” Carter wants to have a blemish removed from the university’s record.

Carter, the only finalist for the NU system’s presidency, is in the midst of his required 30-day review, in which he will visit and talk in many Nebraska communities.

The blemish is the American Association of University Professors’ official “censure,” a designation that indicates the AAUP objects to the way a faculty member was treated.

The AAUP ruled last year that UNL administrators failed to give graduate student-lecturer Courtney Lawton due process, or a fair hearing, when she was removed from the classroom. That led to the censure.

The case drew national attention. Lawton had denigrated an undergraduate student who sat at an outdoor table attempting to recruit for the conservative Turning Point USA. Some conservative Nebraska state senators pointed to the incident as a sign that UNL is a liberal hotbed.

“And we have to find a path, by the way, to remove that” AAUP censure, Carter told about 150 who attended the public meeting at the City Campus Nebraska Union.

Under state law, the NU Board of Regents had to name only one presidential finalist. Carter paid his first public visit to UNL faculty members and staffers Tuesday. The 30-day review started Oct. 26 and will end Nov. 24.

Carter’s session Tuesday morning before UNL professors and staffers was full of welcomes, thank-yous and applause. He said he and his wife, Lynda, “have felt called to be at Nebraska” and “are very hopeful that we will be confirmed.”

During the session, UNL Faculty Senate President Kevin Hanrahan told Carter, the former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, that some Nebraskans feel “there needs to be control” over professors’ free expression. This alarms professors, he said.

“There’s a sense that you’re not totally free here,” Hanrahan said.

Carter, 60, said he is encouraged that UNL is trying to clarify policies that deal with due process and other issues of importance to faculty members. He said he applauds the AAUP’s commitment to empower faculty members to seek the truth in their research and speak the truth in their classes.

The review period consists of a tour of Nebraska, with many speaking engagements, to see whether Carter likes Nebraska and Nebraska likes him as NU’s next president.

His tour so far has stopped in Kearney, Curtis, North Platte and Grand Island. He had three appearances Tuesday in Lincoln. On Wednesday, he will have one in Beatrice and one in Nebraska City. He will return to Lincoln on Wednesday afternoon for a session at UNL’s Innovation Campus.

Carter will make five stops in Omaha on Thursday and Friday. More events are being scheduled for other communities in Nebraska.

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