Judge: Northern State dean should have recused herself from tenure committee
Dean participated on committee that denied tenure to professor despite conflicts
A former dean in Northern State University’s education department should not have taken part in deciding whether a professor received tenure, a federal court judge has ruled.
Judge Charles Kornmann also ruled there is evidence the university retaliated against Thomas Orr for taking time off under the Family Medical Leave Act for the birth of a child. Orr was the first male in his department to take paternity leave.
Orr filed suit against the university, the South Dakota Board of Regents, former Dean Kelly Duncan and former NSU President Timothy Downs in 2019 after he was denied tenure.
But Kornmann also dismissed elements of Orr’s lawsuit in his order on summary judgment. The mixed ruling preserves some of Orr’s arguments, allowing them to be contested in a trial.