Southeast seeks dismissal of community college lawsuit

Saturday, April 9, 2005

Southeast Missouri State University on Friday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the school that was filed by Three Rivers Community College in March.

The motion for dismissal was filed on the grounds that Three Rivers hasn't given the administrative mediation process with the Coordinating Board of Higher Education the chance to be completed before filing the lawsuit.

"Basically, we feel like the board has established procedure for the resolution of such disputes between institutions such as Three Rivers and Southeast," said Southeast legal counsel John Grimm. "We feel the law requires these procedures be completed before a lawsuit is pursued.

"The primary purpose of the motion is to try to get the case resolved and get Three Rivers back to the bargaining table."

The intervention by the higher education board was requested on Feb. 28 by Three Rivers. The lawsuit was filed on March 16, before the resolution process had been completed.

Board commissioner Dr. Gregory Fitch submitted a resolution on March 28 that was agreed to by Southeast but rejected by Three Rivers.

Southeast officials said even if Three Rivers is unhappy with the board's decision, there is an appeal process that Three Rivers has not taken advantage of.

Three Rivers filed the lawsuit after Southeast's decision to bar the Poplar Bluff, Mo.-based school from teaching courses at three higher education centers beginning this summer.

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