Korf v. Ball State University

726 F.2d 1222 (1984)

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Korf v. Ball State University

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
726 F.2d 1222 (1984)

Facts

Korf (plaintiff) was a tenured professor at Ball State University (defendant). University officials were notified that several male students had accused Korf of sexual harassment. Specifically, Korf was accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward the students and offering good grades in exchange for sexual favors. The university initiated termination proceedings against Korf. Korf exercised his right to a hearing before an ad hoc committee of the University Senate Judicial Committee. During the hearing, several students testified, either in person or through written statements, that Korf had sexually harassed them. One student in particular testified that Korf had given him money, gifts, and good grades in exchange for sexual acts. Korf admitted having a sexual relationship with students but insisted that the relationships were consensual. The committee found that Korf was guilty of unethical conduct, as defined by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Statement on Professional Ethics, which had been adopted by the university and published in its faculty handbook. Specifically, the committee found that Korf had engaged in unethical behavior by exploiting students for his private advantage. Based on the committee’s findings, and after hearing arguments from both university representatives and Korf’s attorney, the Board of Trustees terminated Korf’s employment. Korf filed a lawsuit against the university, arguing that his substantive due-process rights had been violated because the AAUP’s Statement on Professional Ethics could not reasonably be interpreted to prohibit consensual sexual relationships with students. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the university, and Korf appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coffey, J.)

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