United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
CLEVELL S. ROSEBORO, II, Plaintiff,
LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, et al., Defendants.
before the Court are Defendants Lincoln University, Robert
Jennings, and Valerie Harrison's Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint or to Strike Improper Allegations
(Doc. 9), Defendant Denise Wilbur's Motion to Join
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint
or to Strike Improper Allegations (Doc. 20), Plaintiff's
Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion (Doc. 21),
Defendants' Reply in Support of their Motion (Doc. 24),
and Plaintiff's Sur-Reply (Doc. 27). Upon careful
consideration of the Parties' submissions and exhibits,
and for the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion
is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
S. Roseboro, II (“Plaintiff”) was an Associate
Professor and Director of Libraries on tenure track at
Lincoln University. (Compl. ¶ 18, Doc. 1.) Lincoln
University (“University”) is a state-related
institution of higher education and an instrumentality of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Dr. Robert
R. Jennings was President of the University during the events
that led to the current action, and through November 2014.
(Compl. ¶ 11.) Dr. Valerie Harrison is General Counsel
of the University. (Compl. ¶ 12.) Ms. Kimberly Lloyd is
Chair of the Board of Trustees of the University. (Compl.
¶ 13.) Ms. Dana Flint is Chair of the Faculty Judicial
Committee of the University. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Ms. Denise
Gaither-Hardy and Mr. Safro Kwame are members of the Faculty
Judicial Committee. (Compl. ¶¶ 15-16.) Ms. Denise
Wilbur is Vice President for Academic Affairs at the
University. (Compl. ¶ 17.)
Plaintiff's Employment with the University
1, 2013, Plaintiff accepted an offer from and entered into an
employment contract with the University to become an
Associate Professor and Director of Libraries. (Compl. ¶
9.) Plaintiff was not tenured, but his position was
tenure-track. (Compl ¶ 1.) Plaintiff's term of
employment was from August 2013 to August 2014. (Compl.
¶ 19.) Plaintiff's contract was subject to the terms
of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”)
between the University and the Lincoln University Chapter of
the American Association of University Professors
the CBA, only adequate cause justifies the dismissal of an
untenured faculty member before the expiration of his
employment term. (Compl. ¶ 20.) An adequate cause
finding is proper when a faculty member's conduct is
prejudicial to the University. (Id.) Neither the CBA
nor University policy requires the University to conduct a
hearing before a faculty member is terminated. (Compl. ¶
permits faculty members to appeal termination decisions to
the Faculty Judicial Committee. (Id.) However, the
University's Board of Trustees may reverse the Faculty
Judicial Committee's decisions. (Id.) The Board
of Trustees is not required to provide an explanation for its
rulings, and its decisions are final. (Id.)
does not permit faculty members to challenge termination
decisions through the Union. (Id.)
Events Leading up to Plaintiff's Termination
12, 2014, Plaintiff and his then fiancé, Thea Flores,
became involved in a verbal altercation when Ms. Flores
accused Plaintiff of infidelity. (Compl. ¶ 23.) Ms.
Flores assaulted Plaintiff, who then fled to his office to
spend the night. (Compl. ¶ 24.) The next day, Ms. Flores
ransacked Plaintiff's office. (Id.) Ms. Flores
returned home and told Plaintiff's daughter, that
Plaintiff had inappropriate pictures of his daughter and
other women on his computer. (Compl. ¶ 25.) Ms. Flores
also told Plaintiff's daughter that University Police had
charged Plaintiff with abuse against Ms. Flores.
(Id.) Plaintiff denies both allegations.
13, 2014, Plaintiff's daughter made a voluntary statement
to University Police. (Compl. ¶ 26.) Her statement was
incorporated into the University's Police Incident Report
(“Incident Report”). (Id.) The Incident
Report stated that Plaintiff accidently touched his
daughter's breast with his forearm. (Compl. ¶ 34.)
However, she understood that the touch was inadvertent.
(Id.) The Incident Report also stated that Plaintiff
had asked his daughter whether she was a virgin and if she
had engaged in oral sex. (Id.) The Incident Report
further provided that Plaintiff's daughter was never
sexually abused or mistreated. (Id.)
The Statement of Charges
14, 2014, Ms. Wilbur informed Plaintiff that he was being
placed on administrative leave without providing a reason.
(Compl. ¶ 27.) On July 22, 2014, Plaintiff received a
letter from Dr. Jennings, titled “Statement of
Charges-Adequate Cause Dismissal, ” (“Statement
of Charges”) informing Plaintiff of his dismissal,
effective immediately, and before the expiration of his
employment term. (Compl. ¶ 28.) The Statement of Charges
accused Plaintiff of being “involved in acts of
violence that departed from accepted standards of
professional ethics, neglect of duty, and illegal conduct
prejudicial to the University.” (Compl. ¶ 29.)
Further, Plaintiff was accused of giving a non-University
employee access to a University computer and “engaging
in inappropriate or offensive words and conduct that created
a sexually hostile environment.” (Id.) The
letter instructed Plaintiff to remove all of his possessions
and vacate University housing.
alleges that the University did not investigate any of the
allegations and the Statement of Charges relied
“exclusively” on the Incident Report. (Compl.
¶¶ 29, 31.)
The Faculty Judicial Committee Hearing
27, 2014, Plaintiff requested a hearing before the Faculty
Judicial Committee to appeal his termination pursuant to the
CBA. (Compl. ¶ 36.) On September 10, 2014, the Faculty
Judicial Committee convened a hearing. (Compl. ¶ 37.) At
the hearing, Dr. Harrison, Dr. Jennings, Ms. Wilbur, and
Harrison testified that Ms. Flores' attorney told him
that the attorney had information that Plaintiff molested his
daughter. (Compl. ¶ 40.) Dr. Harrison also testified
that Plaintiff was under a criminal investigation for the
molestation allegation, but the investigation had stalled
because Plaintiff's daughter was uncooperative. (Compl.
Jennings and Ms. Wilbur repeated the molestation allegation
during the hearing, and Dr. Jennings also testified that the
University had no evidence that Plaintiff “was violent
in any way.” (Compl. ¶¶ 38, 41.)
did not interview Plaintiffs daughter. (Compl.
¶ 49.) Neither Plaintiffs daughter nor Ms.
Flores testified during the Faculty Judicial Committee
hearing to substantiate the allegations against Plaintiff.
(Compl. ¶ 51g.)
testified that he did not ask his daughter whether anyone had
performed oral sex on her. (Compl. ¶ 49.) Plaintiff
alleges that his daughter likely falsified the claim because
she was angry with him. (Compl. ¶ 49.)
Plaintiff claims that ...