Frederick Fagal, formerly a tenured professor at Catholic Marywood University in Pennsylvania, is suing the school, alleging that it terminated his employment without following its own written procedures.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) offers these details:

…Fagal’s suit argues that Marywood’s written policies governing discipline of tenured faculty clearly state that the university must first attempt to resolve issues through “flexible” and “progressive” steps, “such as personal conferences, oral and written warnings, and opportunities for monitored assistance.” The Vice President for Academic Affairs—not the President—may suspend faculty members if there is a threat of “immediate harm to the faculty member or others,” a plainly irrelevant concern in this case.Despite Marywood’s policies, Munley informed Fagal the next day that she was recommending his termination to a faculty committee for review and additionally charging him with violating Marywood’s Civil Rights Policy. Again, the suit alleges, Munley’s actions are inconsistent with university procedures; its Civil Rights Policy requires that an aggrieved party file a complaint and no one had done so. Further, university policy states that termination may be warranted if “remedial action(s) taken during the suspension does not sufficiently resolve … issues.” But no efforts were made at all to address Marywood administrators’ concerns before Munley took steps to terminate Fagal.

Although Munley offered to have a faculty committee review the decision to terminate Fagal, she did not, as policy required, allow the review of her decision to suspend him initially. …

Fagal filed a formal grievance against Munley for acting contrary to university policies. Marywood’s Faculty Grievance Committee concluded, apparently without further explanation, that all of his complaints were without merit. Munley subsequently declared her termination of Fagal to be final—a move that Fagal claims was retaliation for the grievance he filed against her. Confusingly, in the same letter in which Munley terminated Fagal, she also offered to convene a committee to review the suspension and termination. The committee did not agree with all of the charges against Fagal, but nevertheless upheld his termination. It did not, however, review his suspension separately, contrary to Marywood’s discipline policy. Finally, in June, Munley informed Fagal that his termination was indeed final.

..Further, the allegations of Fagal’s lawsuit, if true, demonstrate the administration’s failure to follow many more of its own written policies. As a tenured professor, Fagal was generally entitled to continuing employment—if he did in fact engage in misconduct, he was entitled to a number of procedural safeguards enumerated in Marywood’s policies. Yet according to his complaint, he was dismissed quickly and without justification.