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Justices asked to review UA tenure lawsuit

by Jaime Adame | June 10, 2021 at 3:33 a.m.

Three professors are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling on the dismissal of their lawsuit challenging the University of Arkansas System's tenure policy for faculty members.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday added the case to its docket, with no decision yet on whether a full review will follow.

The three professors from separate UA System schools had argued in court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock that a change to the UA System's tenure policy violated due-process rights, retroactively changing the contractual relationship between faculty member and employer.

U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. dismissed their case in March of last year, and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in November found "no basis for reversal" of Moody's order.

The three professors have filed their legal challenge on behalf of themselves and "others similarly situated," court documents state.

They are: Philip Palade, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; J. Thomas Sullivan, a professor of law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law; and Gregory Borse, an associate professor of English and philosophy at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

Separately, a lawsuit filed by the same professors remains pending in Pulaski County Circuit Court. The pending lawsuit argues that changing the tenure policy in the manner done by trustees in 2018 "violates not only the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Arkansas but also well-established Arkansas legal principles concerning the interpretation and unilateral modification of contracts."

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