“initially pursued First Amendment–related claims against UConn, but federal and state courts sided with the university”
This case goes all the way back to 2011. The professor must be glad he stuck with it.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
The Long Road to Reinstatement
A professor who first sued the University of Connecticut in 2011 following his non-reappointment has finally prevailed in court: a state judge ordered that the university reinstate Luke Weinstein and award him benefits and approximately $736,000 in damages and back pay.
The more than decade-old legal case involves claims by Weinstein, a former non-tenure-track instructor of business at UConn, that the university ignored numerous ethics concerns he raised—including those about his onetime dean—and then failed to protect him from retaliation.
Weinstein initially pursued First Amendment–related claims against UConn, but federal and state courts sided with the university, citing limitations to free speech protections for public employees.
His related whistle-blower retaliation claim ultimately satisfied Judge Susan Peck of Connecticut Superior Court following a bench trial this spring. That’s based on Peck’s new 60-page memorandum of decision in Weinstein’s favor. The document is highly critical of UConn’s treatment of Weinstein, referencing the university’s “deception,” especially by Christopher Earley, the former dean.
“The inherent fallacies associated with the numerous and shifting reasons not to reappoint [Weinstein] for the 2011-12 academic year constitutes circumstantial evidence that the reasons stated were pretextual,” Peck wrote in part.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Jacques Parenteau, said Tuesday, “I have 40 years practicing law, so I’ve seen a lot of stuff. But this is among the most damning descriptions of a high-level administrator that I’ve seen in any decision—for the judge to be turning out page after page of the ways in which [Earley’s] testimony was not credible, and flip-flopping, and that sort of thing. So it’s a huge embarrassment for the University of Connecticut to have protected this guy against someone who’s just trying to do the right thing.”
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