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Professor loses free speech case, prepares to appeal

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After a five year legal battle, Maurice Eisenstein, associate professor of political science, lost his case against Purdue University, Purdue University Calumet, Chancellor Thomas Keon and five fellow Purdue University Calumet professors in the Indiana Court of Appeals on Oct. 30.

Lake County Superior Court initially denied both Purdue’s November 2014 motion for summary judgement, or settling the case by a matter of law rather than by trial, and Eisenstein’s cross-motion for summary judgement in October 2015. However, the Indiana Court of Appeals partially reversed this decision, concluding that the superior court erred by denying Purdue’s motion for summary judgement but properly denied Eisenstein’s motion.

According to court documents, Eisenstein claimed intentional infliction of emotional distress, deprivation of civil rights and defamation by Keon and the five PUC professors involved. Eisenstein also challenged Purdue’s anti-harassment policy and claimed that his free speech rights were infringed on by Keon’s requests, such as removing the link of his personal blog from his university email signature.

Eisenstein was earlier found guilty of retaliation against professors Miriam Joyce and Saul Lerner on Feb. 22, 2012 by Keon and an appointed investigator. The charge was a result of Eisenstein sending an email to Lerner stating he was cursed and making a comment to Joyce about her son’s suicide. Eisenstein received formal reprimands on March 11, 2012, from Keon. Eisenstein filed his suit on May 7, 2012.

Keon declined to comment on the case.

Eisenstein said he is not satisfied with the court’s ruling.

“I will be appealing the court ruling,” Eisenstein said. “I disagree with the court’s decision completely.”

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