Fired coach questions Ecclesia College in lawsuit | Arkansas Blog

Fired coach questions Ecclesia College in lawsuit

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LAWSUIT MATERIAL: A fired assistant baseball coach's lawsuit makes allegations about Ecclesia College operation.
  • LAWSUIT MATERIAL: A fired assistant baseball coach's lawsuit makes allegations about Ecclesia College operation.
Those unfamiliar with Ecclesia College, the work-study Bible college in Springdale that profited through state money from friends in the legislature, might be interested in some information about campus culture as depicted in this lawsuit by a fired employee.

The lawsuit is by Don Thompson, hired as an assistant baseball coach in 2014 but fired less than a year later. He claims he was fired for objecting to others' violation of the college's code of Christian conduct. The Christian environment enticed him  to work there, he said, but others cussed and used tobacco and alcohol.

Thompson also made allegations that might be more serious in the eyes of others than a chaw of tobacco. For instance, he says the college "double-dipped" by receiving reimbursement for student work both from the University of Arkansas for athletic stadium cleanup work and under the federally financed work-study program from which the college benefits. He alleges the students also worked in non-secular areas, which the federal program didn't allow.

Thompson argues that defendants in the case, who include the college president Oren Paris III, had misrepresented to him that working at Ecclesia would "involve a threshold level of moral forthrightness and Christian environment."

The college denied all allegations and is seeking to have the case dismissed.

All the local circuit judges recused from hearing the case. A retired judge, Kathleen Bell, has been assigned to handle it.


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