For-Profit Keiser U. Ends Suit Against Community College

November 11, 2010

Keiser University and Florida State College at Jacksonville agreed late Tuesday to dismiss the lawsuit that the for-profit institution filed in October against the community college and two of its administrators. Fort Lauderdale-based Keiser had alleged that Steven Wallace, the college's president, and Susan Lehr, its vice president for government relations, had “disseminated false information about proprietary schools, including Keiser, by working through advocacy groups and 'short sellers' who profit when the price of a publicly traded stock declines in value." Keiser's charges were based largely on quotes attributed to the administrators in news articles about for-profit colleges and on e-mail messages obtained under Florida's public records law. Florida State College last week filed motions to dismiss the suit, contending it had no merit and that the college would "not be intimidated into silence" regarding its support for the U.S. Department of Education's efforts to regulate the for-profit sector.

In a statement Wednesday, the two institutions said that they had "agreed to put their differences behind them" and that they "hold each other in high esteem." The agreement also makes clear that "FSCJ denies the allegations in the lawsuit and never intended to disparage Keiser University or its principals or to cause harm to the institution, its principals or its students." Arthur Keiser, chancellor and CEO of the privately held university, is chairman of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities' Board of Directors and has been a major political donor, active in guiding lobbying efforts.

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