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School fires professors: Teachers say they were dismissed after encouraging students to put concerns about law school in writing
[November 10, 2007]

School fires professors: Teachers say they were dismissed after encouraging students to put concerns about law school in writing

(Paducah Sun, The (KY) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Nov. 10--Two professors at the American Justice School of Law say they were fired Friday but weren't told why.

Former Graves Circuit Judge John Daughaday said he was notified of his termination by e-mail, and Fred Leatherman said he was fired when he tried to enter the school Friday morning.

Their terminations by Dean Paul Hendrick were effective immediately. Both said they were under contract to work until the end of the spring 2008 semester and would consider legal action.

The school opened two years ago in the Paducah Information Age Park and has 200 students and 25 faculty members.

Hendrick, the school's founder, did not return a telephone message on Friday seeking comment. In an interview earlier in the week, he said there were two professors he didn't identify who were encouraging students to file trumped-up complaints as part of a "hostile takeover" attempt.

He said a special commission of faculty members would investigate their actions.

Daughaday and Leatherman said they weren't involved in a takeover effort and did not solicit complaints. However, they said they've been vocal in recent weeks after students complained to them about the school's management and how they were being treated.

Daughaday had taught part time since the school opened in 2005; Leatherman had taught since the fall of 2006.

The school has had a week of upheaval. On Monday, Paducah attorney Tom Osborne resigned as chairman of the board of directors. Hendrick said the resignation was offered just hours before the board had planned to remove Osborne "for health reasons."

Osborne said he has no health problems but resigned because of student complaints that loans were being mishandled, grades were being manipulated and that false information had been given to the American Bar Association in an application for accreditation.

Hendrick said there is no substance to those complaints.

"Several students started bringing me information a couple of weeks ago," Daughaday said. "After reviewing them, I was distressed. I'm convinced the school will never receive accreditation as long as the current administration is in control."

He and Leatherman said they asked students to put their concerns in writing. Both said their motivation was not to damage the school but to make changes so that it would survive.

Osborne said he delayed plans to file a complaint in federal court when he began receiving more complaints from students Friday after The Sun published a story about his resignation.

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