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K-State Today

March 22, 2011

Court dismisses professor's claims against university

By Julie Fosberg

The U.S. District Court for Kansas dismissed claims against Kansas State University and several of its employees by a professor who was disciplined for his uncivil treatment of others.

John Heublein, a professor of mathematics at K-State Salina, sued the university and 12 employees after he was disciplined in response to complaints about his behavior. The court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case.

"We are pleased that the court carefully analyzed the issues and determined that the university did nothing wrong," said Pete Paukstelis, K-State associate general counsel.

The university had responded to student complaints about Heublein, requiring him to complete a corrective action plan to improve his treatment of others. His fellow faculty members upheld the plan after an extensive university grievance process. Heublein then filed suit.

Heublein claimed that the university violated his First Amendment rights, his academic freedom, and substantive and procedural due process. The court rejected all of those claims.

Richard Seaton Sr. and Pete Paukstelis represented the university as defendants in the case. Patricia Dengler, a Wichita attorney, represented Heublein.