LATHAM N.Y. (NEWS10) – Four music professors have filed a lawsuit against the College of Saint Rose after sweeping cuts of more than 30 tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Yvonne Chaves Hansbrough, Professor of Music at Saint Rose, was handed her termination notice in December 2020. However, she’s still teaching until her termination goes into effect at the end of the semester.
“This is just really hard,” Hansbrough said. “I don’t have another job, and I wanted to see my students out. I have five students working on their senior recitals.”
Hansbrough and three other tenured music professors sued the College of Saint Rose for allegedly breaching their employment contract. The lawsuit claims the college didn’t follow procedure for termination.
“And those procedures are laid out in the faculty manual, which is a contract between the college and the faculty members,” Meredith Moriarty, Attorney for Smith Hoke PLLC, said.
“The process was in compliance with the faculty layoffs,” Saint Rose representative said in a statement to News10 on September 17.
Moriarty said Saint Rose sent termination notices to most of the music faculty. Additionally, the school has eliminated the music performance and the music education programs.
Saint Rose has produced many local teachers across the Capital Region and beyond. Gregory Clark, Saint Rose alumni and band teacher in Whitesboro, is discouraged by the news.
“Saint Rose saw something in me that others weren’t willing to see right away,” Clark said. “It feels like all of this work that I dedicate my professional life to is no longer valued by the place that gave me my start.”
News10 reached out to the College of Saint Rose and a representative stated in part, “Despite these reductions, the College continues to have a very robust and heavily enrolled Music Industry program and our state-of-the-art Massry Center continued to be used for performances and community events.”
Hansbrough hopes the college changes its mind and reinstates the music education program.
“So many of our graduates and our current students come from this local community. So, it’s really going to be missed, I think,” Hansbrough said.
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