Tenured faculty members from a northwest Indiana college that's slated to close have filed a lawsuit alleging the college breached its contract with them.
St. Joseph's College declared a financial emergency in February. It plans to close its Rensselaer campus once the current semester ends next month.
Attorney Andrew Hicks filed suit on April 4 on behalf of six tenured faculty members—William White, Timothy Rice, Robert Brodman, Robert C. Pfaff, Sally Berger and Susan Chattin, the Lafayette Journal and Courier reported.
They argue the school failed to follow terms of their contract and the St. Joseph's handbook by deciding to discontinue or alter severance payments if faculty members found another job before March 14, 2018.
The filing said the plaintiffs are still "entitled to receive payment of their current salary and benefits through March 14, 2018, regardless of whether or not they find alternative employment."
The lawsuit also takes issue with the last day of severance being scheduled in March 2018 since faculty members' contracts run for a full academic year. Because tenured faculty members are contracted through academic calendar years, ending their severance in March 2018 means faculty will be without pay until beginning new jobs in August 2018.
The lawsuit said the college's actions "makes it financially difficult for plaintiffs and other similarly situated tenured faculty to obtain alternative employment and their contracted benefits."
College spokeswoman Linda Jackson said the school is not able to comment on the pending litigation. Representatives of the faculty also declined to comment further.