Christian Instructor vs. DePauw University

Janis Price, Christian instructor, wins lawsuit against the university
( [email protected] ) Nov 24, 2003 11:25 AM EST

A Christian educator, Janis Price, won lawsuit filed against DePauw University who dismissed her teaching position for distributing Christian magazines in her classroom.

Price was awarded by an Indiana court more than $10,000. According to the court, DePauw's officials, especially the vice president for Academic Affairs, Neal B. Abraham, were found to be the creator of hostile work environment -- and violator of Price's First Amendment rights in the process. After a five-day trial, the court awarded Price the full amount of her lost wages for a year.

At first, Price was accused of “professional intolerance” and creating “hostile environement” because of a student who found a magazine article that was available in class offensive.

According to Price, she never required students to read the magazine article nor did she discuss it directly in class. She simply made it available in her classroom as a resource. The article was from a Christian educators’ magazine called “Teachers in Focus” which was about homosexual activism in schools.

After a complaint was made by a student who found the article offensive, Price was called before university officials and questioned of her Christian beliefs. Subsequently she was penalized and the vice president, Abraham reduced 25% of her pay and suspended her teaching position - she was only allowed to hold an administrative position in the school.

She also claimed that the school harassed her because of her Christian faith and she thinks the school holds on to different faith from its modern-day attitude although it was originally founded on Methodist principles in 1837.

"Because the topic was homosexuality, and because DePauw has become anti-evangelical Christian and pro-homosexual, and because this was really cutting at the core of what they are trying to do on campus, I was discriminated against and harassed," the former instructor says.

Price explains of her decision to stay in DePauw despite the discrimination and legal battles she had to face. She was delighted of the moral support she received from the community and from several former students throughout her ordeal. She has decided to remain committed to the university and hopes to bring a positive impact on DePauw by “being light and salt where we need to be light and salt.” Although the school damaged her career status, the instructor sees herself "not leaving, but rather standing up for the truth and maintaining a sense of peace and joy in the face of persecution, because that does speak volumes to people."