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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She is a graduate of New York University, where she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, the Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

News outlets reported late Thursday that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma had lawyered up as the fallout continued from a viral video of its members singing a racist chant on a party bus.

The fraternity chapter's board voted to hire high-profile attorney Stephen Jones as it mulled whether to take legal action against the university and its president, David Boren. Boren severed the school's ties with the fraternity chapter earlier in the week and ordered all its members to vacate their frat house.

Jones said in a news conference Friday afternoon that he wouldn't rule out filing a lawsuit against the university, although he and the members of OU's SAE chapter would prefer to come to terms with the university administration outside of the legal arena. Jones said that he'd been retained to ensure that the frat members receive due process before the university and the fraternity's national organization, but also to ensure the students' safety as they face physical threats from other students on campus.

Jones is best known for representing Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, but there are other aspects of his biography that are worth surfacing.

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The Missouri Republican Party chairman broke his silence Thursday on the suicide of gubernatorial candidate and state auditor Tom Schweich (R).

"It is clear there was no whisper campaign, and it is time to move on," state GOP Chairman John Hancock said in a lengthy statement on local radio station KMOX, where he has a semi-regular hosting gig.

Hancock added that he'd focus on unifying the state party, even as more state lawmakers called for him to step down over allegations that he'd carried out a "whisper campaign" about Schweich's faith.

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Robert Poe's students at Arizona State University frantically contacted him last month to ask why he was no longer listed as an instructor on their class lists.

"Hey, what’s going on?" "Are you still teaching the class?" "We didn’t know whether somebody else would come in Tuesday of next week, we don’t know what’s going on with the class," they asked him.

The students were given no notice, but Poe knew full well what was happening: ASU was trying to scrub away any public trace of his current position as a teacher.

Poe, who is a faculty associate and a PhD student at the university, had been drawn into the white freakout over a course the school was offering on "the problem of whiteness” in mid-February. Poe held an informal debate about the course, called a “teach-in," that prompted white nationalist groups to launch email campaigns against him and the university.

Poe told TPM recently that he believes the university is aligning itself with those white nationalist groups by choosing to stay silent about those activists' meddling on campus. Instead of coming to his defense, Poe said ASU's administration has scrubbed his status as a teacher from the Internet and made overtures that it wanted him fired altogether.

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