Judge Beckwith said Xavier's Communications Arts Department was plagued with faculty disputes an infighting:
"This case arises from or at least coincides with the appointment of Professor Indira DeSilva to the position of chair of the Communications Art Department in 2003. The record fairly reflects that the Communications Arts Department was factionalized and beset by in-fighting among its faculty. The lack of collegiality among the staff is a central issue in this because because Xavier claims that [the fired professors] were jointly responsible for the dysfunctional atmosphere in the department and that is the reason they were eventually dismissed. Plaintiffs deny that they were the source of the dysfunction but nevertheless contend that the Communications Arts Department was no different from other departments, such as the Marketing Department, which supposedly had a reputation for demonstrative disagreements among its faculty . . .
"Plaintiffs filed formal discrimination complaints against DeSilva with the University in February 2007. The continuing conflict within the Communications Arts Department and counter-charges of discrimination between Plaintiffs and DeSilva led . . . to . . . an ad hoc committee comprised of several Xavier faculty members and a professor from the staff of Northern Kentucky University to investigate the inner workings of the entire department. Plaintiffs, however, contend, that the ad hoc committee was not formed to investigate the department or their discrimination complaints. Rather, Plaintiffs alleged that the ad hoc committee was formed to investigate them in retaliation for their complaints against DeSilva. The ad hoc committee not only determined that DeSilva did not discriminate against Plaintiffs, it recommended that the University should institute formal termination proceedings against them for gross dereliction in carrying out their ethical responsibilities to the University."
The Case No. is 1:07-cv-00987, Miriam Finch et al v. Xavier University et al, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Xavier is represented by Peter Cassaday, Kristen Marie Myers and Brian Redden of the law firm Beckman, Weil, Shepardson & Faller LLC. The terminated professors are represented by Robert Gutzwiller and Joseph Krause, of Clodfelter & Gutzwiller.