A lawsuit filed by two former professors at Bryan College against the school has been settled, but the terms of the out-of-court settlement are confidential and the parties involved are not commenting on the matter, according to reports.
The lawsuit was filed by two tenured Bryan College professors that were notified earlier this year that their employment was terminated after they failed to acknowledge the college’s recent “clarification” on the origins of man in their contract renewal.
The original lawsuit states that when the Bryan College Board of Trustees approved a “clarification” to the school’s statement of faith saying that man descended from Adam and Eve and did not evolve from other species, it was effectively altering the Bryan College statement of faith. The school’s charter expressly forbids an alteration to the college’s statement of faith.
Professor of natural science Stephen Barnett and professor of education and chair of the education department Steven DeGeorge sued the school in the hopes of getting their jobs back in addition to asking the court to declare the “clarification” on the origins of man void.
The lawsuit states that: “The Charter includes, in part, a ‘statement of belief’ that ‘must be subscribed to by each person who shall occupy a position of authority or responsibility as a trustee, officer or member of the faculty.’”
The school’s statement of belief must be reaffirmed and signed every year by Bryan College professors, the lawsuit states.
In regards to the statement of faith, the college’s charter states that “this platform shall never be changed or amended, but shall constitute the religious position and belief of the institution as long as it shall endure.”
The college has come under much public and media scrutiny in the past year after the Bryan College Board of Trustees passed a clarification to part of the school’s statement of belief that states “we believe that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death.”
In February, the board of trustees opted to clarify that statement by approving the following clarification: “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”
When annual contracts were distributed to professors in late February, a letter included with the contracts noted that when signing the statement of belief, professors are affirming that they are in agreement with the recent clarification.
The lawsuit states that both Barnett and DeGeorge signed the statement of belief but added footnotes that signified they agreed with the original statement of belief but not the recent clarification.