United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING BALL STATE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT ON FEDERAL CLAIMS AND DISMISSING REMAINING STATE
PATRICK HANLON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Boylan was an instructor in the Finance Department at Ball
State University. With the goal of obtaining future
employment in a tenure-track position, Mr. Boylan pursued and
obtained a Ph.D. But after he received his Ph.D., Ball State
did not offer him a tenure-track position. Dr. Boylan then
left his instructor position at Ball State for a job at
another college and brought this lawsuit alleging that Ball
State discriminated against him on the basis of age and
gender, retaliated against him, and breached an oral
contract. Ball State seeks summary judgment on all claims.
For the reasons that follow, the Court grants summary
judgment to Ball State on the federal law claims and
dismisses the remaining state law claim. Dkt. .
Facts and Background
Because Ball State has moved for summary judgment under Rule
56(a), the Court views and recites the evidence “in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”
Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009)
Ball State's Business School, the Miller College of
State's MCOB is accredited by the Association to Advance
College Schools of Business (“AACSB”). Dkt. 55 at
3. When the events relevant to this lawsuit occurred, Dr.
Jennifer Bott served as Dean of the MCOB while Dr. Sushil
Sharma served as the Associate Dean. Id. The MCOB
consists of six departments: Accounting; Economics; Finance
and Insurance; Information Systems and Operations;
Management; and Marketing. Id. Dr. Manoj Athavale
headed the Finance and Insurance Department. Dkt. 55-2 at 2
(Athavale Dep. 11:22-12:11).
positions are year-to-year contracts, dkt. 55-5 at 2 (Bott
Decl. ¶ 6), while tenure-track positions last for six
years with the possibility of tenure and promotions, dkt.
55-1 at 3 (Sharma Dep. 15:18-17:22). Tenure-track positions
in the MCOB can only be filled when there is a vacancy in the
tenured faculty. Dkt. 55-5 at 2 (Bott Decl. ¶ 8).
Additionally, all tenure-track hires require an external
search, a review of the hiring process by compliance and
other offices, and a review of the proposed job offer by the
Dean, Provost, President, and Board of Trustees. Id.
at 3-4 (¶¶ 12-14).
Dr. Boylan's Position as an Instructor and Desire for a
Boylan worked as an instructor in the Finance Department from
2012-2016. Seedkt. 55-3. His main responsibility was
teaching finance courses. Dkt. 55-2 at 2 (Athavale Dep.
13:4-6). In late 2012 or early 2013, Dr. Boylan asked
department faculty about pursuing his Ph.D. Dkt. 55-2 at 3
(Athavale Dep. 14:4-5). Over 2012 and 2013, Dr. Athavale and
Dr. Sharma told Dr. Boylan that if he received his Ph.D. in
technology from Purdue University, with a cognate in
accounting, he would be “promoted into a tenure-track
position” in Ball State's MCOB. Dkt. 55-4 at 9-10
(Boylan Dep. 36:10- 37:10). Dr. Samuel, who was dean at the
time, and Dr. Bott repeated that promise over the course of
2012-2013. Id. Dr. Sharma also wrote Dr. Boylan a
letter of recommendation for Purdue's program.
Id. at 10 (37:9-12).
2013, Dr. Boylan enrolled in Purdue's graduate program
and began pursuing his Ph.D. in technology. Dkt. 55-1 at 4
(Sharma Dep. 25:13-15). Dr. Boylan received his Ph.D. in
2016. Dkt. 55-4 at 10 (Boylan Dep. 40:9-24).
Dr. Boylan is Not Selected for A Tenure-Track
2015, Dr. Boylan applied for a tenure-track position in Ball
State's Accounting Department, effective for the
2016-2017 academic year. Dkt. 55-7 at 8. The accounting
position required several minimum qualifications, including
completion of “all but dissertation”
(“A.B.D.”) towards a doctorate in accounting at
an AACSB-accredited school, evidence of scholarly research or
the potential for scholarly research in accounting, and
teaching experience or evidence of potential to teach
accounting. Id. at 5. Preferred qualifications
included a Ph.D. in accounting from an AACSB-accredited
school, full-time teaching experience at the university level
with an emphasis on accounting, and certified public
accountant (“CPA”) or other accounting
Mark Myring, chair of Ball State's Accounting Department,
reviewed Dr. Boylan's materials and determined that his
application did not meet the minimum qualifications because
his Ph.D. was not in accounting and Purdue was not
AACSB-accredited. Id. at 2-3 (¶¶ 7, 8, 10,
12). Dr. Myring further concluded that Dr. Boylan's
graduate school transcript only included one
accounting-related course and his dissertation was unrelated
to accounting. Id. at 3 (¶ 11).
Tiffany Westfall was offered and accepted the tenure-track
accounting position. Id. (¶ 13). Dr.
Westfall's doctorate was from the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, which was AACSB-accredited, and she had a
graduate degree with a specification in accounting.
Id. (¶ 14). Dr. Westfall was also a CPA.
December 3, 2015, Dr. Bott, Dr. Sharma, and Dr. Athavale met
with Dr. Boylan and told him that he was unqualified for any
tenure-track position at Ball State's MCOB. Dkt. 55-4 at
7, 9 (Boylan Dep. 25:4-26:4, 37:9-14).
that meeting, Dr. Boylan complained to Ball State's
Office of Human Resources about discrimination, and about
being called unqualified. Dkt. 55-4 at 24 (Boylan Dep.
114:16-25). Dr. Boylan wanted Kate Stoss, Ball State's
Director of Human Resources, to review the job search process
that the Accounting Department had used. Id. at
28-29 (132:24-133:5). Ms. Stoss told Dr. Boylan that she had
no involvement with the hiring process used to fill the
tenure-track accounting position but believed it had been
filled. Id. (132:19- 133:5).
graduating in 2016, Dr. Boylan applied for several other
tenure-track positions in Ball State's MCOB. Id.
at 3 (9:21-12:25). Dr. Boylan did not receive an offer for
any of Ball State's tenure-track positions. See
dkt. 55-6 at 2 (Seymour Decl. ¶ 11); dkt. 55-7 ...