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Big Dustup at University of San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A former assistant secretary-general of the United Nations sued the University of San Diego, claiming he was forced to resign as dean after professors unlawfully recorded conversations and defamed him.

The federal complaint Edward Luck filed against USD also names as a defendant David Shirk, a tenured associate professor of political science who was director of the Trans-Border Institute at USD's Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies for 10 years until "he was forced to resign" in March this year, according to the lawsuit.

Luck also sued Ami Carpenter, an untenured assistant professor at the Kroc School.

The Kroc School was set up in 2007, with a $75 million gift from McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc.

Luck claims in the lawsuit that that USD misled him during the recruitment process that "he could and would lead the Kroc School by acting independently and performing the necessary duties to raise the school's public profile, academic standing, policy relevance, and stature amongst other similar schools."

The Kroc School seeks to promote "sustainable peace and justice through innovative education, interdisciplinary scholarship, advanced practice and policy engagement."

Luck claims the university "concealed that the proposed candidate would be required to lead the Kroc School with a collective governance philosophy," and that the school was plagued by a number of problems.

After Luck was hired in 2012 and began to identify the problems, "the tone of his interactions with the university leadership began to change and he was suddenly informed that he would have to [sic: recte - not have?] the independent authority that he was told he had," the complaint states.

Luck claims that he discovered defendant professor Shirk was misappropriating funds as director of the school's Trans-Border Initiative, and relieved Shirk of his management responsibilities in March - only to see Provost Julie Sullivan overrule him.

On March 22, Luck claims, "Shirk circulated a 10-page memorandum to faculty and others across campus that was filled with slanderous and personal attacks against Dr. Luck, as well as distortions and misleading statements."

Three days later, Luck claims, the university discovered that Shirk was recording conversations with him and other employees, without their knowledge or consent, but did not report his actions to the police.

And, Luck claims, the university found out in May that Shirk was storing nude photographs of himself and nude photographs of women on a university computer, yet chose not to "escalate the situation."

Shirk continued his campaign against Luck, sending "a series of emails, memos, and correspondence to many faculty, administrators and other both in the Kroc School and elsewhere in the University" criticizing Luck, he says in the complaint.

Luck claims that defendant professor Carpenter made "a malicious and false report to the university that Dr. Luck was discriminating against women," after he questioned her ability to serve as a principal investigator of a federal grant.

The university hired outside counsel to investigate Carpenter's claims, and the counsel failed to advise Luck that she was "investigating his ability to be an effective leader, nor did she provide him the opportunity to respond to material statements that were allegedly made by others who were interviewed," Luck says in the lawsuit.

In October, he claims, Interim Provost Andrew Allen threatened Luck "that unless he changed his management style at the Kroc School he would lose his job as dean." Luck resigned as dean shortly thereafter.

Luck seeks lost wages, damages and exemplary damages for negligent and intentional misrepresentation, breach of contract, fraud by concealment, privacy invasion, defamation and constructive termination.

He is represented by Momo Takahashi with Rosen & Saba, of Beverly Hills.

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