He was recognized by the university with a Research Excellence Award, and the College of Communication and Information lauded him with a Teaching Excellence Award. Real has been at the University of Kentucky since 2002 and was promoted to professor from associate professor in 2019.
The Kentucky Kernel reports Real became the chair of the department in 2020.
A University of Kentucky spokesperson told the Kentucky Kernel that Real has been put on administrative leave.
Dean Jennifer Greer reportedly sent an email to the college’s faculty and staff, calling the case "terribly upsetting to our community."
Greer reportedly wrote, "Do know that all involved are taking this matter seriously, and we are working through established university processes."