By Melissa Garcia

DENVER (CBS4) – The University of Denver has suspended a student who is accused of making racist and homophobic slurs.

(credit: CBS)

Addison Puffer, who just finished her freshman year at the university, said officials suspended her from the fall 2018 semester for harassment, a violation of school policy.

(credit: CBS)

Puffer said 13 people had accused her of using the “n” word and the “f” word. She said the accusations were hearsay and do not represent her as a person.

“The people who genuinely know me know that I’m not a bad person. I don’t have bad intentions and I don’t have a cold heart,” Puffer told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia interviews Puffer over the internet. (credit: CBS)

The international business student said the suspension prevented her from receiving credits for the classes she nearly completed.

“I was suspended nine days before the quarter ended with a 4.0 … I have a ‘W’ for 18 credits,” Puffer said. “It’s like they’re trying to ruin my career before it even gets started. This is going to haunt me 20 years from now.”

School documents allege Puffer’s language created “a hostile environment of divisiveness and disrespect” among peers.

(credit: CBS)

The young Republican believes she knows why the accusers spoke out against her. A professor said, “this was the burden that I had to bear because I was an open conservative and supported a bigot of a president,” said Puffer.

(credit: CBS)

University officials say they could not comment on specific students for privacy reasons but said they thoroughly investigate claims of harassment. A university spokesperson provided the following statement:

“The University of Denver takes all issues of harassment very seriously. In the event of a complaint, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX meets with all parties involved, and interviews all witnesses with relevant information to help compile a preliminary report. After both parties review the preliminary report and provide additional comments, investigators determine whether a policy violation occurred. Suspensions are not a decision the University takes lightly and only take place when a serious violation of student policy occurs. For the privacy of our students, we cannot speak about specific students or cases. However, factual errors have been made by outlets reporting on this incident.”

In the aftermath of suspension, Puffer said she had received threats from peers who wrongly believe she is a racist.

“It’s created a really toxic environment for not only me but (also) other students as well,” Puffer said.

(credit: CBS)

Along with suspension, the University of Denver is requiring that she write a paper on the impact of her behavior along with viewing a documentary about white privilege in the United States if she wants to return to the university in spring.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

Comments (2)
  1. Tim McGuire says:

    So, a student was suspended because some people said that other people said that she said offensive things. DU has absolutely no respect for due process for their students. and those who choose to attend DU need to understand that they have no free speech rights on campus at all.

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