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Sprague v. Glassboro State College

Decided: August 2, 1978.

ARCHIE L. SPRAGUE, APPELLANT,
v.
GLASSBORO STATE COLLEGE AND MARK M. CHAMBERLAIN, RESPONDENTS



On appeal from final decision of the Division on Civil Rights.

Fritz, Ard and Gaulkin.

Per Curiam

Appellant, a nontenured instructor, filed a verified complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights alleging that Glassboro State College and Mark M. Chamberlain, its president, had discriminated against him because of his age (26 years) when denying him reappointment which would have resulted in his acquiring tenure. The Division on Civil Rights, through its field representative, made an investigation of appellant's allegations and concluded:

As a result of these findings, the Director determined pursuant to N.J.S.A. 10:5-14 that there was no probable cause to credit the allegations of the complaint and ordered the case closed without a plenary hearing. It is from this order that appellant appeals.

Appellant was originally hired in 1972 as an instructor in the Administrative Studies Department. The term of the contract was one year (1972-1973) and the contract was contingent on appellant acquiring an M.B.A. degree prior to August 31, 1972. He was reappointed as an instructor

for one-year periods effective September 1973 and 1974. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:60-12, appellant elected to be reviewed for tenure during his third year. After reviewing appellant's teaching performance, his scholarship and work in professional organizations, the Interdepartmental Committee evaluating appellant's tenure application voted not to recommend appellant for tenure. It articulated its reasons as follows:

Central to the Committee's misgivings were the feelings that Mr. Sprague's experience background was at best scanty for a Department for which a rich background of actual business experience is a most desirable attribute. Too, the Committee expresses concern on the status of Mr. Sprague's doctoral progress. Finally, the Committee is not convinced that the available evidence indicates that Mr. Sprague's classroom teaching performance approaches the undisputed degree of competence needed to make Glassboro a quality educational institution.

This recommendation was received by the "All College Senate Committee on Tenure and Recontracting," which unanimously concurred. This record was then reviewed by the acting dean, who concurred with the aforementioned committee and recommended that appellant not be granted tenure. Thereafter the matter was taken under advisement by the college president, who informed appellant that he could not recommend reappointment, concluding:

Absent strong affirmation and documentation of teaching excellence and absent the terminal degree without conditions that would demonstrate that waiving this requirement would be in the best interests of the college, I cannot recommend for reappointment that will carry tenure under law.

This decision was subsequently affirmed by the board of trustees, and appellant filed a grievance under the existing collective bargaining agreement, alleging that he had been subjected to irregularities in the tenure evaluation process. The denial of tenure was upheld on all three steps in the grievance procedure. Appellant then sought arbitration;

however, before the arbitration hearing began, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. The terms of the agreement provided for a Remandatory Committee made up of five members, two chosen by the college, two by the union and a fifth chosen by the original four. The committee was to evaluate appellant's competence and current mental health. The committee reviewed the record relating to appellant's tenure application and considered other evidence, both written and oral. It concluded that appellant should be reconsidered for reinstatement as a teacher at Glassboro State College. The conclusions ...


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