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Laid-Off UT-Brownsville Faculty Sue, Claiming School Ignored their Tenure Rights

by Beth Cortez-Neavel, The Texas Observer

Three former professors filed a federal lawsuit late Thursday morning against the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, escalating a two-year battle over tenure rights between faculty members and the schools.

The two schools—one a state-funded university, the other a community college—are splitting after a 20-year partnership that’s become strained in recent years as the separate entities argued over budgets and other decisions.

As the Observer reported in May, the separation has left some faculty members without the jobs they’d been guaranteed years earlier. Others have been re-hired but without tenure. The schools announced their separation in November 2010, but aren’t scheduled to completely split until August 2015.

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Former faculty suing TSC, UTB

By Melissa Montoya, The Brownsville Herald

Three tenured professors who were laid off in 2012 are now suing the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, alleging their terminations violated the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the professors by the Texas Faculty Association in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, alleges that all three professors were over the age of 40 when they were terminated.

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Faculty Group Sues UT-Brownsville, Texas Southmost

Inside Higher Ed

The Texas Faculty Association is suing the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College in federal court on behalf of three tenured professors who say they were fired for being too old, after the two institutions ended a 20-year-old joint operating agreement. Juan Antonio Gonzalez, a professor of modern languages; Dorothy Boven, an assistant professor of English; and Karen Fuss-Sommer, an instructor of nursing, all were granted tenure at Texas Southmost prior to the merger of the college and university in 1992 but had their tenure revoked following their split in 2012.

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