In another step forward for the University in light of many budget-cut related complications, the State of Michigan Court of Claims has dismissed a lawsuit against the Eastern Michigan University for the cutting of four sport programs. University officials received notification of the Court’s ruling on August 31. This decision follows the August 24 dismissal of a Federal Office of Civil Rights complaint against the university on the same topic.
The lawsuit, filed by alumni couple Douglas and Mary Willer of Hillsdale County, claimed that the elimination of the four sports programs violated the state’s Open Meetings Act. The claim, as filed on May 10 with the Washtenaw County Circuit Court, was an attempt to reinstate the programs of men’s wrestling and swimming and diving, as well as women’s softball and tennis.
The University responded to these claims by noting that, as the Board of Regents never voted on the cuts and that the decision ultimately fell to president James M. Smith and athletic director Scott Wetherbee, the claims were “without merit in all regards.”
“The Regents are neither required nor expected to make administrative decisions such as this,” university spokesman Geoff Larcom told the Detroit News back in May.
He went on to note that the Board’s policies dictated that such a decision was to be left to university management and that such a policy was commonplace at other universities.
Now, with the court’s dismissal, the University is vindicated.
"As we stated from the beginning, the lawsuit was without merit in all regards. We are pleased the court agreed," Larcom said in Eastern’s statement regarding the recent development.