BOSTON – Carole Simpson, a former ABC news anchor who is now a journalism professor at Emerson College, is on the hot seat after endorsing Hillary Clinton for president at a New Hampshire political rally.
Simpson said she immediately regretted her actions and offered her resignation the day after the rally last month in Salem, N.H., but Emerson officials refused to accept it.
"I know I made a mistake. It was definitely the wrong venue for my first foray into free speech," Simpson told The Boston Globe in Monday's editions. "But I'd really like to see her win. After being a reporter for so many years, where you wish you could do more than you can, it would be nice to make a difference."
Simpson, 66, is considering an offer from the Clinton campaign to stump for the candidate. Simpson, who is black, was outspoken as a journalist about her belief that the broadcasting industry should hire more women and minorities. She and university officials have agreed she will not teach political journalism courses if she campaigns for Clinton.
Simpson did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Monday. A message was left at Emerson for her.
While Clinton quickly issued a press release on Simpson's endorsement, some conservative bloggers have seized on it as proof of liberal media bias.
Simpson's endorsement came when she took her 14-student journalism class, "Road to the White House," to the rally to show students how to cover a political event.
As Clinton was fielding questions from the audience, Simpson tried several times to get her attention in the crowded room. When she finally caught Clinton's eye, she gave an impromptu endorsement.
"I want to tell you tonight, because I happen to be here with my students, that I endorse you for president of the United States," she said. "It's very freeing now that I'm not a journalist and I can speak my mind, and I wanted you to know I think you are the woman, and I think this is the time."
Simpson began teaching at Emerson last year after leaving ABC, where she anchored ABC World News Tonight Sunday from 1988 to 2003.
Jerry Lanson, an Emerson journalism professor who co-teaches the course with Simpson, said he immediately told Simpson her remarks were inappropriate.
"As faculty members if we're teaching journalists, we need to model the behavior we're teaching in the classroom," he told the Globe.
Janet Kolodzy, acting chairwoman of Emerson's Journalism Department, said she was surprised by the endorsement, but felt it was within ethical bounds.
"The presence of her students is what raised concerns," she said. "But we are a college that advocates free expression."