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A judge has ruled that Louisiana State University at Shreveport violated the state’s open meetings law in a faculty member’s April 8 termination hearing, but still didn’t nullify the hearing’s results, The Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate reports.

Brian Salvatore, the imperiled and tenured chemistry professor, told Inside Higher Ed that the faculty members on the hearing committee unanimously recommended firing him. Now, Salvatore said, the LSU Shreveport chancellor has also recommended his termination, and the final decision rests with the LSU system president.

LSU Shreveport has accused Salvatore of, among other things, “creating a toxic and hostile work environment.” Salvatore has accused his colleagues of incompetence, plagiarism and open meetings violations. Faculty and staff senate leaders reported him to human resources, according to the campus chancellor.

There’s no written version of the ruling yet, but Salvatore and Pat Gilley, a Salvatore supporter and the lead plaintiff in the open meetings lawsuit, confirmed the ruling to Inside Higher Ed. They said Judge Beau M. Higginbotham of the 10th Judicial District Court in Louisiana handed it down last Tuesday. The suit sought to nullify the results of Salvatore’s termination hearing.

“It’s the very basis of our democracy, this law,” Salvatore said. “It’s not just a technicality.” He further told Inside Higher Ed that one university administrator “tainted” the hearing by saying in front of committee members that Salvatore and his advocates had misled others in announcing the meeting was open to the public. Open meetings laws allow citizens to view government proceedings.

Gilley and two other Salvatore supporters filed the lawsuit to vacate the hearing May 7, saying they had attempted to attend the April 8 termination hearing at the LSU Shreveport University Center. The lawsuit says they “were barred from doing so by armed campus policemen.” They requested an injunction stopping LSU from enforcing any decisions made at the termination hearing.

Gilley told Inside Higher Ed that some people were allowed in the hearing room, but a campus police officer told her the seats were already taken. She said that LSU Shreveport’s provost, Helen Taylor, said the meeting was only partially open. That’s “like partially being pregnant— you are or you aren’t. It’s open or it’s closed,” Gilley said she told Taylor, who didn’t return requests for comment.

Kevin Cope, treasurer for the Louisiana State Conference of the American Association of University Professors, called the judge’s decision “on the one hand welcome, and on the other hand extremely peculiar” because there were no ramifications for the university.

Gilley said the plaintiffs are considering whether to appeal the judge’s refusal to throw out the hearing results. An LSU Shreveport spokeswoman declined to comment.