Graduate Students

Governing Board's Chairman Sues 3 Former Trustees of Community College

October 24, 2008

The board chairman of the largest community college in Illinois has filed a defamation lawsuit against three former trustees, the Chicago Tribune reported today.

The three women who had served on the governing board of the College of DuPage had made allegations of sexual harassment against the chairman, Michael E. McKinnon, accusing him of making inappropriate physical contact and using sexually suggestive language.

“These false statements by each defendant were part of a political vendetta conducted by the defendants in an attempt to undermine McKinnon’s position and influence on the Board of Trustees,” the defamation complaint says.

Mr. McKinnon declined to comment when contacted by the Tribune. His lawyer accused the former trustees of making up the allegations last year because they disagreed with Mr. McKinnon’s policy on public access to the financial records of DuPage, which enrolls about 26,000 students.

“He said it,” Mary Sue Brown, who accused Mr. McKinnon of making a crude sexual reference about another female trustee, told the newspaper. “If I were going to make something up, I don’t think I’d make up that one.”

Listed as defendants are Ms. Brown, Mary A. Mack, and Jane Herron. Ms. Mack had accused Mr. McKinnon of rubbing his chest against her breast and using sexually suggestive language. Ms. Herron had said that while leaning over a table to sign documents at a board meeting in 2002, he touched her buttocks and made a suggestive comment. —Reeves Wiedeman