From Albert Fernandez:
For those of you who missed President Noonan's announcement at
Sunday's Assembly (about which more below) and for those who want more
detail, the lawsuit brought by Thomas Lindsay and Patrick Parker
against Shimer and several individual defendants (Nelson, Noonan,
Fernandez, Werlin, and Dan Shiner) last May has been settled out of
court. Only the court's approval of the settlement, which is almost
automatic, is yet to take place as of this writing.
The principal terms of the settlement are as follows:
1--The plaintiffs (Lindsay and Parker) withdraw their suit ("forever
waive,release, acquit, discharge, and hold harmless all of the
2--Both the plaintiffs and the defendants (us) agree to never again
sue or counter-sue over the matters brought up by the current lawsuit.
3--Plaintiffs agree to never again seek or accept employment or formal
association with Shimer College.
4--Thomas Lindsay is to be paid $80,000.
5--The settlement does not commit the parties to any restriction of
commentary or expression of opinion.
Provision # 2 obviously leaves some room for interpretation, and does
not apply to individuals not named in the lawsuit and not acting on
behalf of Shimer College. Neither does it prohibit legal action in
pursuit of new complaints, including, notwithstanding #5, complaints
for alleged libelous or defamatory statements made after the
settlement by anyone against anyone. The lead attorney on our side has
underscored this possibility and I relay his request that we all be
Provision #3 does not take away Patrick Parker's status and privileges
as a Shimer College alumnus.
The sum in provision #4 is to be paid not by Shimer College but by the
College's liability insurer. There may still be some cost to the
College in raised premiums--as with no-fault car insurance. However,
I have it from one of the attorneys that the insurer has always
regarded this lawsuit as "frivolous" and presumably not counting as a
basis for increased premiums.
November 14 ASSEMBLY:
Eileen Buchanan and myself proposed an amendment to the Preamble of
the Assembly Constitution that would delete the "subordination
clause," that is, the wording that gives the Board of Trustees
automatic precedence over the Assembly in the event of a conflict.
The idea of striking the clause was first suggested by alumnus Dan
The amendment motion, which required a 2/3 (35 votes) majority to
pass, was defeated. To the best of my understanding, there was no
opposition to the amendment in principle, but enough to defeat it on
the grounds of caution and not being too much "in your face" with the
Board. I will not argue that those who opposed our motion were wrong
to choose prudence in this particular instance (though it will give me
some satisfaction if all you late-night comedians out there make the
most of the fact that this was probably the first motion in Assembly
history to be defeated by a vote of 31 in favor and 22 abstentions).
But I will say that, in the long run, if the endangered species of
education and of community that Shimer represents is to survive, the
community, and especially the Faculty, will sooner or later have to
again conduct themselves as they did last year, and speak assertively
and independently, and not in the language of lawyers and supposedly
pragmatic concerns, but in the language of philosophy and vision. I
may have much more to say about this in an article for