KANSAS –After a process that she described as, ”David going up againstGoliath,” Jennifer Schartz has decided to settle the lawsuit she broughtagainst her former employer, Barton County Community College.
In anAug. 4 decision, Schartz said she decided to drop her lawsuit, receiving a$130,000 settlement.
”I know the college didn’tnecessarily admit its guilt, but the size of the settlement proves this was nota trivial lawsuit,” Schartz said. ”I just hope that through thiscostly process some important lessons have been learned byBCCC.”
Schartz filed the lawsuit in 2004 after her contract asadviser to the Interrobang, a studentnewspaper at the community college, was not renewed. Schartz suspected thedecision was made after the paper published a letter to the editor criticizingthe school’s basketball coach, which the school called ”a personalattack.”
As part of the relief sought in the lawsuit, Schartzwanted to be reinstated as adviser, which was not part of thesettlement.
”I had continued to say that I wanted my job back,but in reality there was already someone in that position and I didn’twant the same thing done to them that was done to me, which was to be let gounfairly,” Schartz said.
Allen Glendenning, the attorneyrepresenting the community college, said he was not authorized to share anydetails of the settlement, but added ”Ms. Schartz lowered her demands tothe point that it was more economically feasible to conclude the case thanto incur the cost of continued litigation just to prove apoint.”
Schartz said she hopes to put the situation behind herand is happy that ”this sad chapter is finally over for thecollege.”
She said she will continue her work as a countycommissioner and substitute teacher and will be speaking at an upcoming CollegeMedia Advisers conference in October.
”I continue to feel itwas important to stand up for myself on the issue of censorship and to set anexample for students and others that the First Amendment is something worthfighting for,” she said. ”Even though we settled the case instead ofgoing to trial, I believe the settlement is a clear vindication of theprinciples for which I wasfighting.”