Arch on the east side of East College lawn at Depauw University was
donated by the Class of 1890 in 1910. UMNS photo courtesy Depauw
University, Photo number 03-472, Accompanies UMNS #551, 11/13/03
No Long Caption Available for this Story
GREENCASTLE, Ind. (UMNS)--An Indiana court has
ruled that DePauw University did not properly follow its faculty
handbook when the United Methodist school suspended the teaching duties
of a part-time instructor after she distributed religious materials in
Janis Price, who remains an administrator in the
school's education department, was awarded $10,401 in damages after a
five-day trial. The monetary award is the amount of her lost wages as an
instructor for a year.
Ken Owens, director of media relations
for DePauw, said the case was about contract law and not about religious
freedom. He said the university will file an appeal to clarify its
Price was a part-time instructor at DePauw
until July 2001. Her teaching duties were suspended after a student
complained that issues of the magazine Teachers in Focus were being made
available in the classroom. The magazine was published by Focus on the
Family, a Colorado-based ministry.
The six-member jury
unanimously ruled that DePauw University did not follow its academic
handbook, Price told United Methodist News Service. "The reason they did
not follow their academic handbook was religious harassment," she said.
says she has received support from Christians across the country after
articles about her suit were published in a variety of media.
says the jury misinterpreted the handbook and its contents. Price is an
administrative employee and not a "term" employee.
"We are not
trying to prolong things for her or for us," Owens said. "But a jury of
lay persons was called upon to determine contract law, and we feel the
jurists erred in their ruling. We feel it has significant ramifications
for our employment policies."
In March, Putnam Circuit Court
Judge Diana LaViolette dismissed Price's claims that DePauw violated her
freedom of speech, freedom of religion and academic freedom.
DePauw University is one of 124 schools, colleges and universities related to the United Methodist Church.