United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
cause is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment [Docket No. 45], filed on January 13, 2017.
Plaintiff Marie Reymore has brought this action against her
former employer, Marian University, alleging that it
discriminated against her because of her gender and
retaliated against her for filing a charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), all
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”). For the reasons detailed in this
entry, we GRANT Defendant's Motion for Summary
Reymore's Employment at Marian University
2000, Marian University (“Marian”) hired Dr.
Marie Reymore (“Reymore”), who had earned her
Master's degree in economics in 1994 and her Ph.D. in
economics in 1999, to serve as a full-time Assistant
Professor of Economics in its Business Department (the
predecessor to its Business School). In that capacity, she
taught four classes each semester, developed the economics
course curriculum, and supervised up to 120 students each
a 2007 restructuring of the Marian Business Department to
make it a part of the Business School, Reymore served as the
Business School's interim dean until 2010. Reymore was
approved for tenure in 2008 and became an Associate Professor
of Economics. In 2009, Reymore began teaching Marian
Adult Program (“MAP”) courses, an accelerated
degree completion program geared toward working
professionals. MAP courses were typically taught by adjunct
instructors on a single-course basis. As a part of that
program, Reymore taught Statistical Methods, Introductory
Economics, and Nursing Economics and contracted with Marian
to continue teaching such courses every semester. This
arrangement continued until Marian decided to discontinue it
for the reason(s) discussed below.
2010, Marian hired Dr. Russell Kershaw to serve as Dean of
the School of Business. During her term as interim dean,
Marian's Vice President and Provost, Dr. Thomas Enneking,
had authorized Reymore to hire only a part-time
administrative assistant, even though she had requested
full-time support. Reymore became upset when, in 2011, Dean
Kershaw, a male, was authorized to hire a full-time
assistant. Docket No. 23 (Am. Compl.) at 2. This decision was
allegedly made for budgetary reasons and Provost
Enneking's approval of Kershaw's request to hire a
full-time assistant was conditioned on the assistant's
providing support to another dean in addition to Kershaw.
Docket No. 47-6 (Enneking Aff.) at para. 17. Reymore
acknowledges that Marian's receipt of a significant
financial gift in 2010 from a donor to the University enabled
the funding of a full-time assistant. Docket No. 47-1
(Reymore Dep.) at 124:9-25.
serving as Dean of Marian's Business School Dean in 2010,
Kershaw decided to move the University's economics
program from the Business School to the School of Liberal
Arts. Reymore agreed to teach economics courses within the
School of Liberal Arts and was thus transferred to that
department. Her new supervisor became the Liberal Arts
School's Dean, James Norton. As of Fall 2012, Reymore was
the only fulltime faculty member teaching economics in the
Liberal Arts School.
the transfer of the Economics Department, Professor James
Polito, who also taught economics, remained assigned to the
Business School under Dean Kershaw's
Supervision. Polito became a tenured professor of
economics in 2012 and his course load included economics,
undergraduate business, and finance classes.
served as a full-time faculty member until the end of the
Spring 2015 semester, when Marian decided not to renew her
contract. We address the details leading up to that decision
The Termination of Reymore's Full-Time Faculty
to 2014, Marian had compiled data concerning low student
enrollments in certain areas of study, including economics,
art history, photography, and French, and developed a
proposal to eliminate these subjects from its major and/or
minor tracks course offerings. With regard to the economics
courses, for example, the statistics showed that, between
2007 and 2014, only three or fewer students were enrolled
with minors in that subject area. Enneking decided sometime
in 2014 to drop the economics program from the curriculum.
Enneking Aff. at para. 3. Marian's administration agreed
to eliminate the economics program (both the major and
minor), as well as majors in art history, photography, and
French. Dropping the minors in those subjects was not
recommended because student enrollments were sufficient to
warrant their continuation and because the faculty members
assigned to teach those subjects also taught other courses
and programs. Docket No. 47-5 (Enneking Dep.) at 96:23-97:10;
Docket No. 47-4 (William Harting Aff.) at para. 6. The
teaching contracts covering courses in economics did not
require the faculty to support other programs. Harting Aff.
at para. 7.
Marian's Academic Policies Committee (“APC”)
began consideration of the elimination of the Economics
program as well as certain other majors in other subjects.
According to Marian's Faculty Handbook, the APC is
charged with the responsibility for changes to academic
programs for review by the faculty. (Reymore herself had
served as a member of the APC). The APC ultimately voted in
favor of the elimination of the major due to low enrollment
as well as the French major. Reymore Dep. at 201:12-204:6.
Marian's Board of Trustees approved the proposal, and the
decision became effective as of May 8, 2015.
was notified in February 2015 that her full-time faculty
contract would be terminated based on the decision by the
Board of Trustees to eliminate the economics major and
minors, cancelling the need for a full-time faculty member to
teach that subject. On June 29, 2015, Enneking personally
informed Reymore that he had decided not to renew her
full-time faculty contract given the continued low
enrollments in Marian's Economics courses and low
graduation rates. Marian contends in this litigation that
Enneking “could have pursued the termination of
Reymore's full-time faculty contract for cause based on
her performance” (discussed below) “but he
decided to instead pursue deletion of the Economics program
due to insufficient enrollment, which had the same result,
did not require Marian to engage in the difficult and
time-consuming process of terminating a tenured faculty
member for cause, and would relieve Reymore from having to
tell prospective employers that she had been terminated for
poor performance.” Def.'s Br. at 10; Reymore Dep.
247:1-10. Following Enneking's conference with Reymore in
which he informed her that her contract was being terminated,
she inquired whether she could continue to teach MAP courses.
Enneking responded that she could continue, so long as her
teaching services were needed and she also performed well.
Reymore Dep. at 247:1-10.
Reymore's Performance Evaluations
Expectations of Faculty
Faculty Handbook outlines performance expectations for
faculty members, including teaching effectiveness,
availability to students, and compliance with administrative
deadlines. Reymore admits that these standards applied to
her, both in her capacity as a full-time faculty member and
as a MAP course instructor.
Reymore's Full-time Economics Professor
performance reviews as a full-time faculty member during her
time at Marian have generated contradictory assessments
between the parties to this litigation. Reymore asserts that
in 2001 she received a satisfactory performance evaluation
and that in 2008 and 2009, Enneking wrote positive reference
letters for her, which, she contends, he would not have done
had her performance been poor. Enneking Dept. at 42.
Regarding student evaluations between the fall semester of
2014 and the spring semester of 2015, Reymore describes them
as referencing valuable aspects of her courses and reflecting
a high level of agreement as to the quality of her teaching
performance. Reymore Aff. at para. 21-35. Reymore also
contends that she never received any negative feedback
regarding her performance as a teacher from anyone within the
Marian administration prior to her termination. Reymore Aff.
at para. 10.
holds a different opinion regarding the quality of
Reymore's performance, noting that Enneking “began
to notice a decline in [Reymore's] performance”
following her successful tenure bid in 2008. Enneking Dep. at
43:19-23; 65:12-66:6. Sometime in May 2008, Marian's
then-Dean of Academic Affairs, William Harting, met with
students who complained that Reymore had missed approximately
ten classes during the semester, was habitually late for
class, and in fact was an hour late the day of the final
examination. Harting Aff. at para. 4. Reymore reportedly
failed to return the final tests and rough drafts of papers
to the students, even though she had imposed accelerated
deadlines to complete their final papers. Id. In
general, the students were critical of Reymore's teaching
style and performance. Id. Apart from sharing these
comments with Reymore, Marian does not appear to have done
any follow up aimed at improving her performance.
until 2011 did Marian officially evaluate Reymore's
performance, when Kershaw concluded that Reymore's
teaching methods were not satisfactory. In response to this
evaluation, Reymore allegedly committed to make improvements.
Reymore Dep. 235:16-236:2. In 2013, two years later, Dean
Norton informed Enneking that he had received a complaint
from an undergraduate student about her performance in an
online course. Enneking Aff. at para. 9. The student reported
that Reymore was disorganized and tardy in posting
assignments; she routinely changed due dates for student
assignments and failed to grade past assignments.
Id. She also failed to respond to students'
questions. Id. Norton conveyed these concerns to
Reymore, but despite some minor improvements, her poor
communication practices and disorganization continued.
Id. Prompted by these complaints, Enneking and
Norton met with Reymore in 2013 to discuss her unsatisfactory
teaching performance. Reymore Dep. at 232:24-234:14. Prior to
and in preparation for the meeting, Enneking undertook a
review of past student evaluations relating to Reymore's
courses, noting in particular the following:
• Spring 2008 courses, which indicated that Reymore was
absent multiple times and habitually tardy, that she delayed
returning homework and tests and was difficult to meet with
outside of class;
• Fall 2010, which showed that Dr. Reymore cancelled
multiple classes, failed to timely return homework and tests
and exhibited a lack of preparation, focus, and interest in
• Spring 2010, which recounted her frequent absences,
tardiness, untimely returning of class work, and described
her as disorganized, unresponsive, and uncaring.
• Fall 2011, which reflected students'
dissatisfaction with Reymore's absences from class and
office hours, tardiness, untimely returning of class work,
and her unresponsiveness; and
• Spring 2012 and 2013, which students reported a
continuation of the same types of complaints.
Aff. at para 12. During the 2013 meeting, Enneking reviewed
this information with Reymore. In addition, two Marian
administrators discussed with Reymore her tardiness in
complying with administrative deadlines, i.e., in submitting
book orders, class rosters, and grades. Following this
meeting, Enneking monitored Reymore's performance via
student evaluations, including their reviews of courses
Reymore taught as part of the MAP Program.
Reymore's MAP ...