Law Dean Settles With University of Cincinnati

May 9, 2017

University of Cincinnati College of Law Dean Jennifer S. Bard resigned from her leadership position Monday after striking a settlement agreement over the weekend that has the university reversing a decision to place her on administrative leave.

The settlement follows a tumultuous period of public turmoil at the university’s College of Law. Bard sued the university and its interim provost, Peter Landgren, in April. She filed her lawsuit about a month after Landgren placed Bard on administrative leave after she responded to media reports about faculty members attempting to have her removed. Bard said she was being targeted by a small but vocal group of faculty members as she attempted to cut a multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

Under this weekend’s settlement, Bard is withdrawing claims that her constitutional rights were violated and her contract breached. The university is granting her two years of academic leave. She will also retain her tenured professor position in the College of Law, along with a secondary appointment in the UC College of Medicine. She will continue to earn her full dean’s salary, which The Cincinnati Business Courier has quoted at $300,000.

The settlement has the university vacating its decision to place Bard on administrative leave, according to her lawyers at the New York law firm Krantz & Berman LLP. They added that Bard resigned as College of Law dean because the university did not support her when a small number of faculty members resisted attempts she made to set up “responsible” fiscal policies.

“This settlement demonstrates that Landgren had no basis whatsoever to place Bard on administrative leave and his doing so was wholly unjustified and completely inappropriate,” Bard’s lead attorney, Marjorie Berman, said in a statement. “Dean Bard did what the university asked of her in a professional manner with the support of students, alumni, donors and many faculty and staff. We are pleased that the university annulled the leave so as to begin to undo the needless damage they caused to her reputation.”

A University of Cincinnati spokesman disputed those remarks. “We are pleased for all involved at this settlement and would like to move forward constructively,” Greg Vehr said in a statement. “Comments being made by Ms. Bard’s counsel should not be taken at face value, and we dispute their accuracy and truthfulness.”

Bard will be able to search for other jobs in academia during her academic leave, according to her lawyers. She was hired to be dean at the UC College of Law in 2015 under a five-year contract.

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