Journalism law professor clarifies details of lawsuit against Emerson

by Beacon Staff • April 29, 2009

Emerson's journalism law expert suing college (Page 1, April 23):

Although I did not personally initiate efforts to publicize my lawsuit against Emerson, now that the story is out, I want to clarify a few things:

First, that this lawsuit was easily avoidable: Emerson terminated my healthcare benefits when the college was closed during holiday break. I sued only because I could not persuade anyone to hold off so we could discuss the matter rationally.

Second, the only reason I am not eligible for healthcare benefits is because the Journalism Department wants me to teach one of my four required media law courses during the summer.

While these rules are patently unfair, my lawsuit does not challenge the fairness of the collective bargaining agreement. That's something only the union can do. My lawsuit is simply about the misrepresentation, i.e., the mistake Emerson made when it erroneously told me that I would get healthcare benefits for the entire year (rather than only fall semester).

The college refuses to take responsibility, to "own" its mistake-something we ask students to do everyday. In fact, they refuse to even discuss it.

Finally, Emerson would rather, inexplicably, waste tuition dollars on litigating a lawsuit that should have settled months ago-surely it has already spent far more on this case than what it is worth. Finding a constructive resolution is both cost effective and the right thing to do.

Laurie Ruskin

Adjunct professor

Journalism department