Governor Drops Chadron Student Trustee Appointment After Students Allege Sexual Assault in Protection Order Hearings

April 21, 2022, 6:30 p.m. ·

A "Chadron State College" sign is in the foreground of a campus view.
Chadron State College is appealing the 2021 jury decision that it did not properly protect an anonymous woman after her rape on the college's campus. The jury awarded her $300,000 in its finding. (Photo by Elizabeth Rembert, Nebraska Public Media News)

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Governor Pete Ricketts has rescinded his appointment of Caleb Tegtmeier as Chadron State College’s student trustee. Two Chadron State students have requested the Dawes County district judge ban Tegtmeier from contacting them. Both women allege he sexually assaulted them. 

Tegtmeier would have represented Chadron State as a non-voting member on Nebraska’s State College Board of Trustees. Tegtmeier is a sophomore from North Platte studying in the Rural Health Opportunities Program. RHOP is a prestigious pre-med program that includes a tuition waiver and provisional early acceptance at the University of Nebraska Medicine. 

“The governor has rescinded Mr. Tegtmeier’s appointment pending the outcome of his court hearing,” communications director Alex Reuss said in an email. “He will not be appointing a replacement in the meantime. The governor’s office became aware of the allegations on April 13.”

Tegtmeier’s family confirmed he is the subject of a separate Title IX investigation on Chadron’s campus. Tegtmeier did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Members of Chadron State administration supported Tegtmeier’s application to become his campus trustee with letters of recommendation. 

Concern about the appointment arose after the college’s student newspaper reported the sophomore had been in court this spring defending himself against protective orders stemming from sexual assault allegations involving two Chadron State students. 

Both women asked District Court Judge Russell Harford to issue protection orders barring Tegtmeier from further contact.  The judge continues to review those requests, with one decision due for release May 23.

During a hearing last week, three other women testified under oath they were subjected to unwanted sexual contact from Tegtmeier.

Caleb is the son of Elizabeth Tegtmeier, who is campaigning to represent most of western Nebraska on the state school board. In a statement released on Monday, she said the accusations are a private family matter but is “confident the truth will prevail.”

Tegtmeier did not attend today’s regular meeting of the State College Board, where new student trustees Brett Hilbers from Wayne and Matthew Leininger from Peru State were introduced. Nebraska State College System Chancellor Paul Turman said the campus representatives are crucial in building relationships and bringing issues to the board. 

Editor's Note: Nebraska State College System Chancellor Paul Turman is a member of the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission which holds the licenses for most of Nebraska Public Media's transmitters.