DSU graduate assistant claims improper termination

Delaware_State_University_sealDOVER — Delaware State University and an athletic administrator are defendants in a lawsuit alleging an improper termination of a graduate assistant’s funding earlier this year.

According to plaintiff Trey Anderson, the university allegedly reneged on paying for his books and tuition last summer while earning a master’s degree and serving as a graduate assistant within the Academic Services department for student-athletes.

A five-page complaint, first filed in U.S. District Court on June 23, was amended to nine pages on Sept. 13.

“We feel confident that we will be able to get discovery that will support our allegations,” Mr. Anderson’s attorney Daniel Herr said.

DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said, “Due to the ongoing litigation we have no comment.”

Mr. Anderson was enrolled in the school’s Master’s in Sports Administration and Graduate Assistant Program beginning in August 2015, according to the complaint.

The plaintiff, who moved from Baltimore to Dover to study, claimed DSU agreed to pay for tuition, housing and other incidental expenses, along with employment with the university, for the fall 2015-spring 2016 semesters, along with two sessions in the summer.

After DSU paid for the first two semester studies, Mr. Anderson claimed he was told that the school would not pay for tuition and books for the summer semesters.

The plaintiff maintained that DSU offered no information on the circumstances of his termination, and provided “no hearing concerning legitimate opportunity to oppose, or legitimate reason for its decision to do so.”

Citing case law in a partial motion to dismiss filed on Sept. 9, DSU argued that the “alleged agreement does not fall under [the category] of constitutionally protected contracts.”

Also, according the university, defendant Dr. Sonja Jackson-McCoy, a senior associate athletic director for academic services, is entitled to qualified immunity as a government official.

Even if Mr. Anderson’s claims fall under a constitutional interest, according to DSU, “Dr. McCoy should still be dismissed because she did not violate a clearly established right by not giving Mr. Anderson a hearing prior to revoking his summer tuition books and expenses.”

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