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Prof loses lawsuit filed against TMCC, appeal planned

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A Truckee Meadows Community College math instructor, whom the institution’s president sought to fire in 2021, lost his federal lawsuit last week.

Lars Jensen sued the college after the institution’s president, Karin Hilgersom, sought to have him fired for insubordination. His case drew national media attention and public concern from free-speech and faculty rights organizations. 

Federal Judge Larry Hicks, however, said Jensen had no case—for two reasons. She said the administrators he sued are protected by qualified immunity, and, because TMCC ultimately did not fire Jensen, he did not have a legitimate complaint.

“Dr. Jensen’s constitutional claims against the Administrators in their official capacities are dismissed with prejudice based on Eleventh Amendment immunity,” Hicks wrote. “Any argument that Dr. Jensen’s protected liberty interest in ‘future employment opportunities’ has been deprived here is harshly undermined by the fact that (1) he provides no instances in which he was denied employment, and (2) he remains employed by TMCC.”

Jensen’s attorneys said they will appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“After a careful review of the U.S. District Court’s Order issued on September 27, 2023, Dr. Jensen and his legal team believe that the Court departed from established law,” Jensen’s attorneys wrote in an emailed statement to This Is Reno. “Given the importance of the issues involved, we are left with no other alternative but to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.”

TMCC refused to comment on the case.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.

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