Faculty Lawsuit Dropped, Others “in our Pockets”

By Kim-Jenna Jurriaans & Alex Borowicz
Only a week after the Antioch University Board of Trustees announced the recision of the resolution suspending the operations of Antioch college, a lawsuit filed by members of the college’s faculty was dismissed without prejudice.
But the legal battle may not be over.  Dismissing the lawsuit “without prejudice” gives the faculty the option of refiling the same claim at a later date and this is but one of the legal cards that the college faculty now hold.
Professor Peter Townsend, lead plaintiff in the faculty lawsuit, stressed the need for collaboration between the university and the college faculty.  “It’s really important that the university start negotiating in a functional way with all the parties,” Townsend said.  He noted that the faculty would be willing to reinstate the lawsuit, but that the main point of the lawsuit was simply to keep the college open.
Other lawsuits may still be options for the college faculty, and these options have already been reviewed.  “We’re holding them in our pockets and we’re hoping to get some collaborative behaviour from the administration of both the university and the college,” he said.  “If we do, then we won’t need these suits, and we’ll be working together, which is what we’d like to do.”
The faculty are more than willing to begin collaborative negotiations, as they feel that the faculty contract they hold is still being violated.  A letter was sent to the legal team of the college stating that the lawsuit was to be dropped and that fair negotiations were expected by the faculty.
Townsend admitted it was unlikely that the previous lawsuit would be reinstated, but contended that “there are other lawsuits that are options with the faculty that we could file.”  But the weeks to come remain unclear, and the faculty are uncertain if further legal action will be necessary.  “The current situation changes minute to minute now,” Townsend said.  “Predicting two weeks is nearly impossible.”