Former SMU professor settles lawsuit

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According to an article by The Dallas Morning News, former Perkins School of Theology professor Patricia Davis settled her lawsuit against the University in which she alleged she was fired for reporting sexual harassment and improper conduct by Rick Halperin, director of the Embrey Human Rights Program.

Davis filed the suit in April 2013 after her departure in 2012. The case was formally closed last week after Davis and SMU reached a settlement.

According to a statement released by SMU and Gillespie Sanford LLP, all disputes have been resolved. Davis’ departure is seen as an honorable retirement from the University.

“The parties sincerely hope for continued success for one another and part with mutual respect and on good terms,” the statement said.

The trial was originally set for Oct. 14, 2014. However, on Sept. 29, both sides resolved litigation after eight hours of mediation.

The efforts were made official in a joint dismissal filed Oct. 28.

In her case, Davis claimed that SMU did not take her concerns about sexual harassment seriously after Halperin was cleared through a campus investigation. According to the lawsuit, Davis was fired a day after she requested an appeal of the findings.

Davis alleged that Halperin allegedly engaged in inappropriate behavior with female students, sometimes during late-night hours, and that he had disturbing tendencies.

After Davis filed suit, SMU denied the allegations in a statement.

“SMU admits that Dr. Halperin periodically met with students in his office alone, but denies that Dr. Halperin engaged in any misconduct or unlawful activities,” the statement said. The university also denied her firing in retaliation for going to officials with the allegations.

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