Professor of Trumpet Byron Pearson and his wife Anne Pearson have filed a suit asking for upwards of $25,000 against the College and Dean of the Conservatory Karen Wolff. The suit alleges that both defendants unlawfully violated due process and tenure rights and accuses the College of age-based discrimination against Pearson.
The case, filed Jan. 20 in the Lorain Court of Common Pleas, states that around June Pearson's salary was frozen and a search committee was formed to find a replacement for him.
The suit states that Pearson has been replaced by younger persons and that he is "a member of the age-protected class under Ohio law." It charges that replacing him with younger teachers is a violation of Ohio age discrimination laws and Pearson's civil rights.
The suit claims that the defendants' actions were in violation of a contract between Pearson and the College.
The suit also charges that Pearson has a disability and states: "Because of Professor Pearson's disability and their perception of his disability, Defendants have continuously harassed Professor Pearson, frozen his salary, refused him reasonable accommodation, interfered with and undermined his teaching relationship with his students, suspended him from teaching and created an environment in which it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for Professor Pearson to teach effectively or to return to teaching at the College."
Wolff would not comment this week or last. Wolff's secretary, Carol Snyder, said, "[Wolff] said it is an issue that she cannot talk about yet."
President Nancy Dye acknowledged that Pearson has filed a suit against the College, but declined to comment further.
Pearson also refused comment because the case is in litigation. He is being represented by Linda Asher and Matt Nakon from the law firm Wickens, Herzer and Panza.
The case charges that in April, the College and Wolff "removed Pearson from active teaching of students in his trumpet studio without cause. Such removal was a suspension from teaching without academic due process with intent to terminate Pearson's tenure and employment."
The suit further states that the removal of Pearson by Wolff and the College was enacted without previous reprimands or warning.
It is also charged that Wolff undermined "Pearson's relationship with his students, and interfered with and removed him from his teaching without academic due process."
The case states that Pearson has suffered and will "continue to suffer indefinitely into the future." The damages are stated as in excess of $25,000. Nakon said that the exact damages will be determined in the trial, but they are unspecified at this time.
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 125, Number 14; February 14, 1997
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