Two Akron University professors have been reinstated after being fired two years ago, following a ruling by two independent arbitrators who found the process problematic.
Two faculty members – dance professor Robin Pritchard and engineering professor Su Ramlo – will receive a paycheck and lost benefits, according to Akron Beacon Jarnal, which announced the decision of the Board of Trustees of Acron last week. Pritchard and Ramlo were among the 66 faculty members who the administrators said had budget problems caused by the coronavirus.
Although a class action lawsuit failed for a larger group of faculty members, Akron’s faculty union accepted some separate lawsuits for arbitration. As part of that process, the arbitrators determined that the university had wrongly laid off both Pritchard and Ramlo.
In Pritchard’s case, arbitrators found that the plan to change the nature of Akron’s dance program was “somewhat loose and sometimes contradictory,” the newspaper reported, noting that the university fired Pritchard at the same time that it planned to hire two other dance professors. .
In Ramlo’s case, the university argued that its courses were unnecessary and excluded. However, arbitrators have discovered conflicting accounts – including one in which Akron was still offering the courses Ramlo taught in the spring of 2022, when administrators mentioned the possible exclusion of those classes as a justification for his release.