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Former professor files lawsuit against Texas State

A former Texas State University professor has filed a federal lawsuit against the university alleging he was improperly fired and stripped of tenure, citing violation of his right to due process among other wrongs.

Dr. David Wiley was fired by the university in February amid accusations of sexual misconduct. The Board of Regents also at that time approved revoking his tenure in the department of Health and Human Performance.

The action, which was filed June 2 with the Western District of Texas, names as defendants Texas State University, President Dr. Denise Trauth and Karen Meaney, who was Wiley’s supervisor in the Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP).

The suit alleges the decision to revoke his tenure was a “foregone conclusion that took years to become final as a result of unfair, biased and inequitable university policies and procedures,” which violated his right to due process.

Wiley had taught in the HHP for more than 30 years and was a “nationally recognized scholar in the field of health education,” as well as one of the “most senior” faculty members in the department. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses, the action says, and had wide-ranging academic responsibilities.

His problems began when Meaney, his former colleague, became his supervisor, according to the lawsuit. “Although previously maintaining a friendly, collegial working relationship with Dr. Karen Meaney, Dr. Wiley began to experience significant changes in his treatment” beginning with her promotion. Within three weeks of becoming his supervisor, the lawsuit says Meany attacked his professionalism, “insulting him in front of colleagues in the HHP Department” and “eventually beyond the department.”

The situation escalated in 2018 with Meaney seeking to remove Wiley from his position as a graduate coordinator and he subsequently filed a grievance. They participated in “informal mediation” in January of that year and, the lawsuit says, Meaney later apologized to Wiley.

However, less than a month later, she filed a Title IX complaint against Wiley alleging sexual harassment that had reportedly occurred between five and 10 years prior that involved “hugging and non-romantic kissing on the check” of Wiley’s colleagues that, “prior to these complaints, Plaintiff considered friends,” and none of whom said “They never advised Dr. Wiley that any alleged conduct was unwelcome.”

The suit seeks the reversal of the University Board of Regent’s decision to terminate Wiley’s employment and revoke his tenure as well as compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages as well as reasonable attorney’s fees, interest and costs.

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