News Brief: GW finalizes Mount Vernon lawsuit

University officials announced that they settled a lawsuit with 13 former Mount Vernon College professors for an undisclosed amount of money last week. The professors originally sought about $5 million in a lawsuit alleging that GW violated their contracts when the college closed in 1999.

GW and the plaintiffs jointly announced the settlement May 4, after agreeing to settle out of court March 31. The case was scheduled D.C. superior court for April 2.

Both parties declined to comment on the details of the agreement, but said the settlement “was resolved to their mutual satisfaction,” according to a joint press release issued by the University and law firm Cashdan, Golden and Kane, who represented the professors.

“I think we’re all happy it’s been resolved,” said Mount Vernon Campus Executive Dean Grae Baxter, who also serves as president of the remaining Mount Vernon College corporation.

University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg described the settlement as “a business deal” when negotiations began in April, and said GW would evaluate the cost to “make this go away.”

The University made an affiliation agreement with the small women’s college in 1996, assuming a $6 million debt by neighboring Georgetown University. GW gave Mount Vernon College, which had been struggling financially, two years to become “financially viable.” GW officials who served on the Mount Vernon board of directors terminated the contracts of 50 faculty members when the college closed due to financial exigency.

-Kate Stepan

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