Judge Allows Faculty Lawsuit Against Sweet Briar to Move Forward

Bedford County, VA -{}A judge has allowed the faculty lawsuit against Sweet Briar College to move forward.. dismissing only two counts. The group of professors is suing the school for breach of contract with tenured professors. At the center of this case is a faculty manual, in particular the part about tenured faculty. On the second to last page it reads that they can only be fired "under extraordinary circumstances because of financial exigencies." In termination letters Sweet Briar sent out to faculty members, the school stated that as the reason they were letting professors go. But in court today, Raoul Cantero, the attorney representing the faculty members says that is not the case. And because Sweet Briar board members pulled the plug too early, the school violated the contract it had with its professors. "We believe the college was not in danger of bankruptcy, they could've done a lot more things before they decided to close" said Cantero. Cantero says Sweet Briar should be required to prove the financial exigencies led them to that decision. But the attorneys for Sweet Briar say it is on the faculty members to prove why -- if not for financial reasons --- the board members decided to close. "It is possible to plead a breach of contract claim, generally that is not a hard thing to do. We felt it hadn't been stated with enough specificity" said David Burton. Both attorneys told me they were pleased with the judge's decision. Cantero says the most important counts of the lawsuit were not dismissed and David Burton with Sweet Briar says they are pleased the case has been narrowed. According to online records, a court date for this case has been set for June 22.
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