Friday, April 2, 2010

Writing center instructor loses lawsuit to obtain full-time legal writing job

A federal district judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by a part-time writing center instructor at U. of Iowa School of Law who claimed she was denied a full-time legal writing job due to her conservative political views.  (UI's Writing Center is staffed by a combination of graduate students, law students and other writing professionals unlike the legal writing program which uses full-time professors).   We first brought you the story of Teresa Wagner back in January, '09 when she filed her lawsuit against the UI dean.  According to the complaint, Teresa Wagner was hired as a part-time tutor at the UI Writing Center in 2006 and then applied for a full-time legal writing professor job with the law school when it became available later that year.  After completing a round of interviews and a faculty presentation, the faculty voted against her in March 2007 in favor of other candidates who had less experience, according to Ms. Wagner.

She eventually sued alleging that the school violated her first amendment rights by retaliating against her for working for conservative organizations such as the National Right to Life Committee and the Christian lobbying group the Family Research Council.  The court disagreed, siding with UI by holding that Professor Wagner was rejected instead because she didn't "adequately lay out plans for her proposed course, not because of her political leanings:"

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Wolle granted summary judgment for UI finding that '[a] reasonable person in [the dean of UI's] position would have accepted the faculty recommendation to hire other applicants, not Wagner, for the full time and adjunct positions, believing that in doing so she was not violating any person's constitutional rights.'

You can read the rest of the story here courtesy of the Iowa City Press-Citizen or an abbreviated version here courtesy of the National Law Journal.

I am the scholarship dude.


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