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Widener Law Prof. Lawrence Connell Wins Dismissal Case

Widener Law Prof. Lawrence Connell Wins Dismissal Case

I have written several times about the ordeal of Widener Law Professor Lawrence Connell, who was given notice of dismissal after he used a hypothetical example in his criminal law class of the Widener Dean Linda Ammons being attacked, and a small number of students alleged that Connell made racist and/or sexist statements in class.

Connell contested his dismissal at a law school disciplinary hearing, and also has sued for defamation.  Connell claimed he was singled out because he is openly conservative.

Connell just received word that he won the disciplinary hearing.  From a Press Release issued by his attorneys:

After a three-day trial on June 6-8, a Widener University committee today unanimously cleared law professor Larry Connell of charges that he was a racist, a sexist and a danger to students.

“I am elated,” said Connell, “and I look forward to returning in the fall to the campus from which I was banned by Dean Ammons and to resuming my teaching duties. I would not have won without the testimony of dozens of my students who submitted statements to refute the baseless charges two disgruntled students filed against me. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”

“Once again the faculty of the law school spoke clearly about the tactics of Dean Ammons in her attempt to rid the campus of my conservative voice. This is the second time the faculty refused to sign on to her vendetta against me,” added Connell.

The University impaneled a committee consisting of law professors Judy Ritter and Jim May, as well as University associate vice-president of administration George Hassel, to hear the case against Connell. In a unanimous 52 page decision, which the University will have to decide on releasing to the media, the committee exonerated Connell of all charges of racial and sexual harassment and discrimination under the University’s rules.

Update:  I should add that according to the Press Release Connell was found to have engaged in “retaliation”:

The committee, however, did find that Connell had violated code prohibitions against “retaliation” for emailing his students to explain why Ammons had banned him from the campus and for his attorney Thomas Neuberger’s issuing a press statement explaining his efforts to identify Connell’s accusers and to protect his client’s reputation.

I have requested a copy of the decision from Widener, but based on a converstation I had with Widener’s Director of Public Relations, it appears that Widener will not provide the decision.  If that changes, and I can obtain the full decision, I will post it.

Update No. 2:  I received the following statement from Widener:

“The Committee has submitted its report to the dean of the law school and each of the parties.  The contents of this report are confidential. The university’s policy is not to release documents on personnel issues to the news media or to comment on their contents. The lawsuit that Professor Connell has filed is a matter of litigation to be decided in the Delaware Court. We believe that the claims raised in the lawsuit are without merit and the matter will be defended vigorously.”


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What libs. can`t control they try to destroy.

“… of charges that he was a racist, a sexist and a danger to students.”

Last I checked, being a racist wasn’t grounds for sqwat, since it was Constitutionally protected, along with communists.
The way it read here, it is put right up there along with the pedophiles and serial murders.

Hope he can nail the defamation suit too.

A good defamation suit will be a real “how do you do” to those would-be “lawyers of tomorrow”

DINORightMarie | July 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

May I ask how it is “retaliation” to issue an explanation to his students of what is being done, or for a lawyer to issue a press staatement and to try to find out the identity of the accusers?

“Retaliation?!” More like common sense to me.

A professor who is being suspended would, I hope, want to tell his/her students what is going on and why he won’t be teaching.

A lawyer should issue a press statement about a highly publicized issue (where the media is trying his client in the court of public opinion, feeding that opinion with misleading or incomplete information on the professor). The press release should clarify both his client’s actions and seek to know who is making the accusations against his client.

Common sense? Or am I missing something?

    Considering the press release was written by his attorneys, I doubt that is how the panel viewed his actions.

    And by press release, I mean the press release Prof. Jacobson has quoted.

    I wonder how one can retaliate for the exposition of alleged events that were found to have never occurred. It boggles. Also..retaliation against whom? The students were not threatened, they were informed.

    It just Boggles.

    Anon Y. Mous in reply to DINORightMarie. | July 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Reading between the lines, I think the retaliation came in his trying to identify the anonymous students who were making allegations against him. I think the policy is they can make complaints confidentially, and that a professors attempt to breach the confidentiality is classified as an attempt at intimidation or retaliation.

      Steve in reply to Anon Y. Mous. | July 22, 2011 at 6:04 am

      Wow , that’s kinda frightening. Any snot-nosed kid could make an accusation and the Elders could then concievably investigate by tying the straps around you to a pole and stacking wood around you. If you die when the cord is lit… Oops you were innocent and if you don’t … well we’ll cross that bridge when it happens.

      Don’t you have a right to confront a person who has wronged you? Is he supposed to proceed against unnamed source in the lawsuit? Would that benefit anyone in any way if he did so proceed?

      Anonymous complaints that are taken seriously enough to merit a suspension and potential dismissal are just powder kegs looking for a Salem ( pardon all the mixed and butchered metaphors .. I’m up too late.) That’s not a just way to run anything.

        Awing1 in reply to Steve. | July 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

        The assumption is that these are his students, and that there is an imbalance of power in the Professor’s favor. The students must be able to report anonymously or else they would fear retaliation and fail to report any abuses. Usually there is a caveat that the reports must be made in good faith, and if they are made in bad faith, anonymity is removed.
        I don’t understand your metaphor at all. Anonymity was not automatically granted to the accuser during the Salem Witch Trials era, and guilt is not presumed at the outset in this case (at least ostensibly), as you seem to indicate occurred at the Salem Witch trials.

        So… what is the point of your metaphor?

Alex Bensky | July 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Dino, you clearly don’t understand nuance and you’re lucky that you have fellow readers like me who can explain it to you.

When a conservative defends himself, e.g. by sending out statements saying why he didn’t do what he is charged with doing, it’s retaliation. It’s the same reason that if you criticize a leftist you are trying to stifle dissent.

Anything that makes a progressive uncomfortable or might possibly force him to reconsider his facts or his theories is, ipso facto, aggressive and is retaliation, harassment, or whatever. This is simply an outgrowth–excuse me, emanations from the penumbra of–the constitutional right of certain people not to be offended.

    Steve in reply to Alex Bensky. | July 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    So , one day under our new and glorious Leninist-Stalinist-Obamanationist Soviet Republic I can declare that I am offended by the colors red and blue and henceforth The Flag of the USSRA would 50 white stars on a white field?

    What a pretty picture you are painting.


    Wow that one kind of hurt.

Captain Obvious | July 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Actually, to be pro-white and anti-red would be racist… so the actual result would be quite meta: a big red flag

Goodness gracious Franz Kafka, your world view is becoming more and more normal as we devolve towards idiocy.

I got a charge out of “a danger to students”. These are law students, supposedly adults and college graduates. Besides, doesn’t the law say an accused has the right to face his accusers? Liberals only go by strict law when they are on the hot seat. Otherwise, not.

Prof. Connell sent an email to his students. His attorney, “… issu[ed] a press statement explaining his efforts to identify Connell’s accusers and to protect his client’s reputation.”

Looks like Ammons is one of those “ivory tower” elites who has never had to make payroll, has never had a real job or has any real world experience. See below.

I hope Connell kicks her ass in court.

Also see:

And read the comments.

[…] situation has attracted a good bit of interest from conservatives and people who follow the legal world and academic […]