GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) -
A lawsuit has been filed against the former president of Garden City Community College and the college.
In court documents filed on Wednesday, plaintiffs consisting of six current and former employees of the college accuse Herbert Swender of several violations, including infringing upon their constitutional rights on a number of occasions.
Nineteen pages of court documents detail the incidents.
In a series of mandatory-attendance meetings with faculty and staff in 2017 and 2018, Swender is accused of the following:
- Infringing the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs to speak freely about matters of public interest and concern
- Detaining plaintiffs without any legal justification
- Conducting and causing to be conducted an illegal search and seizure of the private phones of the plaintiffs
- Imposing religion on the plaintiffs
- Threatening punishment on the plaintiffs for speaking with the media without college clearance
The plaintiffs are seeking relief in the form of compensatory and punitive damages.
Last May, the faculty senate presented a 28-page report to the board, accusing Swender of bullying, intimidation, sexual harassment and retaliation against employees.
The college also terminated Swender’s contract back in August and agreed to pay a $278,000 settlement.
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