CINCINNATI -- The University of Cincinnati College of Law dean has sued the school, alleging she was improperly placed on administrative leave.
Jennifer Bard, who was appointed to a five-year term as dean in 2015, was working on changes to the law school to deal with a "severe deficit facing the college" and "outdated and ineffective" admissions methods, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. district court Friday.
Her changes were approved by the then-provost but they "rankled a number of faculty," according to the lawsuit. After faculty members threatened to hold a vote of "no confidence" in Bard last November, she agreed with university officials to work with a mediator on a six-month plan to help deal with the issues facing the school.
However, the interim provost "interefered and frustrated" the six-month plan, according to Bard's lawsuit. Then, after Bard was quoted in a March Business Courier story responding to another story about her problems with faculty members, she was placed on leave.
Bard's lawsuit states she was placed on leave as "retaliation" for providing information to a reporter.
"At a meeting the interim provost had with faculty on March 24, 2016, the interim provost confirmed that Bard had done 'nothing illegal,' there were no 'ethical or moral issues,' no 'financial issues' and there was no new allegation or 'smoking gun' that caused him to place her on administrative leave," the lawsuit states.
UC spokesperson Greg Vehr said university officials "are reviewing the suit by Dean Bard, and we will welcome the opportunity to present the truth in court."
Bard's suit alleges that she suffered "enormous reputational and employment damages" as a result of being placed on administrative leave. She's seeking to be reinstated, to have the university publicly state she did nothing to justify being placed on leave and to receive monetary damages for breach of contract.
Read the full complaint below: