Smith v. Kent State University

696 F.2d 476 (1983)

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Smith v. Kent State University

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
696 F.2d 476 (1983)

Facts

Smith (plaintiff) was a tenured music professor at Kent State University (defendant). After receiving tenure, Smith joined in a petition to have the Director of the Music Department, Merrill, removed, but the music faculty ultimately voted for him to remain. Smith received an unfavorable evaluation for teaching Music 280, a music history course within his field of expertise. Afterwards, Smith refused to teach the course. Merrill specifically requested that Smith teach the course, and Smith continually refused. Merrill sought to terminate Smith’s employment, and termination proceedings ensued. The Faculty Hearing Committee agreed that Smith should teach the course but found termination to be too severe and recommended that Smith be retained if he accepted future teaching assignments. The university president accepted this recommendation, and the Board of Trustees ratified Smith’s contract for the following school year with the express language that if Smith again refused a teaching assignment that was deemed reasonable, he would be automatically removed from the faculty. Smith again refused to teach Music 280 and refused to meet with music department officials about the situation. A hearing was held before the university president, which resulted in Smith’s termination. Smith filed a lawsuit against the university. The district court ruled in favor of the university, and Smith appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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