University settles with exiled professor
The University of Hawaii has settled a lawsuit filed by a tenured UH-Manoa professor after he was banned from campus and forbidden to talk with all faculty members, staff and current or former students.
The university paid Michael D'Andrea $30,000 for attorneys' fees and court costs in July to dismiss the suit and wrote a letter to his attorney, Eric Seitz, stating that "in the future, the University of Hawaii will be more careful in issuing restrictions regarding university employee contact and access to the university's facilities."
D'Andrea, a professor in the Department of Counselor Education, is still suspended from his job with pay, but he can talk to faculty, staff and students who want to speak with him and can go onto campus, although not to the College of Education.
Seitz said the settlement preserves D'Andrea's First Amendment rights.
"The restrictions that they attempted to impose on him were far broader than they had a right to do," Seitz said.
In a written statement, Gregory Sato, an attorney with Kobayashi Sugita Goda, hired by UH-Manoa, said, "The settlement ensures the civility and respect of UH students, staff and faculty. ... The issue of Dr. D'Andrea's continued employment now moves to arbitration."
In March, former interim UH-Manoa Chancellor Denise Konan wrote a memo banning D'Andrea from the entire campus and from talking to anyone at the school because of what she called "alleged intimidating, hostile and bullying behavior."
D'Andrea said he has been vocal and passionate about social justice issues, including opposing the war in Iraq and speaking up against a Navy research center on campus.
But he said he has never "threatened anyone or intimidated anyone or used obscene vulgarities or ethnic slurs."
"These are trumped-up charges," D'Andrea said, adding that he is hopeful the new administration at UH-Manoa will want to settle the case.
Sato said all of the settlement money went to attorneys' fees and costs, and none went to D'Andrea.
D'Andrea, however, said he did receive some of the settlement, although he would not say how much.