Cases

Freedom of Expression & Association

Barthold v. Gordon College

This is a civil rights lawsuit filed on behalf of tenured philosophy professor Lauren Barthold charging Gordon College, a Christian liberal arts college, with retaliating against her because she made public statements disagreeing with Gordon’s president who had asked President Obama to allow federal contractors, on the basis of religion, to discriminate against LGBTQ people in hiring.

photo of lauren barthold

Lauren Barthold

Barthold was threatened with termination and later disciplined because she wrote a letter to a newspaper and was quoted in a newspaper article as a critic of the president’s action. Although the administration backed down from the threat to terminate Professor Barthold after receiving a warning letter from one of her attorneys, they subsequently imposed discipline on her – removing her from faculty leadership positions, denying her the scheduled right to apply for a promotion, and removing her from serving as director of the gender studies minor.

The lawsuit, filed in Essex Superior Court, contends that Gordon officials violated various state laws protecting against retaliation for opposing discrimination, sex discrimination, and interference with freedom of expression and association.

Attorneys: Sarah Wunsch (ACLU of Massachusetts) and Joshua Solomon (Pollack Solomon Duffy LLP)

@ACLU_Mass