Appellate Court rules in favor of Breuder


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Former President Robert Breuder

Vandy Manyeh, News Editor

A ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has provided a temporary reprieve for College of DuPage’s former President Robert Breuder.

Three U.S. Appellate Court judges unanimously decided firing the embattled former president for excessive spending and other reasons without an opportunity for a hearing was wrong.

“(Case law) holds that even a person who has no property interest in a public job has a constitutional entitlement to a hearing before being defamed as part of a discharge, or at a minimum to a name-clearing hearing after the discharge,” wrote Judge Frank H. Easterbrook in a nine-page ruling.

The judges’ ruling paves the way for a continuation of Breuder’s defamation lawsuit against current and former members of the board of trustees who voted to terminate his contract with COD.

Breuder was voted out as president of the state’s largest community college in October of 2015 after a “clean slate” of trustees, headed by former Trustee Kathy Hamilton, terminated his six-figure contract. Trustees also moved to rescind a $763,000 severance package with Breuder. The deal prompted Illinois lawmakers to pass a law that dictates the severance cap for community college presidents. Departing community colleges presidents cannot receive more than one year’s salary and benefits.

Breuder then filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the college and individual members of the board of trustees. In the lawsuit, Breuder argued he was “deprived of his civil and constitutional rights when defendants wrongfully terminated his employment in violation of his contracts, without due process, and based on false charges of misconduct.”

Breuder’s is seeking $2 million in damages from the college. Since the start of the trial, COD has incurred more than $500,000 in legal fees.

The case will continue before Judge Andrea Wood at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.