- Associated Press - Thursday, January 24, 2019

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A private Roman Catholic college in Wichita that was already facing two lawsuits from fired employees has had two more former workers sue over allegations they were unfairly fired.

John Walker, Newman University’s former counseling program director, sued the college this month, The Wichita Eagle reported . Walker alleges in his lawsuit that he was fired last year in retaliation for reporting suspected rule breaking by university officials, criminal activity and information related to an October 2017 death at an off-campus party.

Walker also served as an assistant professor and the university’s investigator for Title IX, the civil rights law that prohibits schools receiving federal funding from engaging in discrimination and from retaliating against a person who files a complaint. In his lawsuit, Walker accuses the college of failing to report or properly investigate some instances of discrimination and retaliation.

Newman University spokesman Clark Schafer said Walker’s allegations are “without merit.”

“All actions taken by the university in relation to his (Walker’s) claims were made for legitimate, non-discriminatory, and non-retaliatory purposes,” Schafer wrote in an emailed statement.

Walker’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment by the newspaper.

In another lawsuit, Sue Ellen Gardner, a former tenured professor who was director of the university’s School of Social Work, alleges that she was fired in 2017 without good cause, then denied a hearing to challenge her termination.

The suit, filed last month, didn’t provide details about the university’s reasoning for firing Gardner.

Schafer said school officials cannot comment on the lawsuit because the university hadn’t been formally served.

Gardner’s lawyer wasn’t available for comment Wednesday.

Two other former employees have filed against the university over the past seven months, according to court records. A former education professor and human resources director also have sued over terminations.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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