Tim Hays, the head of music business, filed a lawsuit in DuPage County on March 8 against The Leader and Elmhurst College, alleging false accusations regarding a reported Title IX investigation regarding a controversial seating chart.
The defendants involved in the lawsuit are Syeda Sameeha, editor-in-chief; Ron Wiginton, The Leader’s advisor; Troy VanAken, president of EC; April Edwards, vice president of Academic Affairs; and Jane Doe, an anonymous student who allegedly reported the seating chart to The Leader.
Hays, who was removed from teaching last fall, stated in the lawsuit that he will be suing EC for alleged false statements published in The Leader on November 20, 2018 regarding a Title IX investigation.
In the lawsuit, Hays disputes two other articles published by The Leader on December 4, 2018 and February 19 regarding the removal from his classroom and the account of the alumna who reported an alleged experience where Hays sexually harassed her.
Travis Life, Hays’ attorney, did not respond to The Leader’s phone and email requests for comment.
Hays did not respond to an email request for comment but spoke to the Chicago Tribune, saying that the suit was filed “to clear my name and to protect others from this type of hardship.”
The lawsuit states that Hays has suffered “stress”,“anxiety”, and “physical harm” due to the publication of the article.
Hays accuses Edwards, “knowingly, intentionally and with reckless disregard made the statement that Dr. Hays was under investigation regarding Title IX,” as reported in The Leader’s November 20, 2018 issue.
In the article, Sameeha reported Edwards saying that Hays was in an ongoing investigation, but the investigation was a “confidential personnel matter.”
Edwards has declined to comment.
Hays accused Sameeha of alleged false reporting in the articles published.
Wiginton is being sued due to allegations of breaching his duties as an advisor and allowing for the story to be published with alleged false information.
Wiginton did not speak to The Leader, but spoke to The Daily Herald on March 8 where he said that he worked to make sure the publication was legal and ethical.
Sameeha has declined to comment to The Leader; Wiginton and Sameeha have recused themselves from working on stories regarding the lawsuit.
Hays accuses VanAken of allegedly breaching his “duty” for not providing proper training or supervision to faculty and student journalists when it comes to the publication of “stories that may be harmful to others”.
VanAken has declined to comment.
Desiree Chen, a college spokesperson, also has no comment at this time.
The suit is set to be heard on June 6 in Courtroom 2016 at the county judicial center in Wheaton, Ill.