An academic’s plea: Resolve lawsuit over donation to U. of Chicago

SHARE An academic’s plea: Resolve lawsuit over donation to U. of Chicago

Thomas L. Pearson (center) answers questions about The Pearson Family Members Foundation’s $100 million gift to the University of Chicago to open The Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts. | Ashlee Rezin/ Sun-Times

The University of Chicago and the Thomas L. Pearson Foundation have an excellent opportunity to set an example in resolving a conflict peacefully. (“University of Chicago countersues over withdrawn $100M gift” — April 9).

As in many relationships, a conflict has arisen over expectations. The conflict relates to a donation to create an institute to study global conflicts. The foundation, headed by Timothy and Thomas Pearson, pledged $100 million to the university to establish the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and The Pearson Global Forum. The disagreement seems to be over whether the university hired the right professors and staff by the agreement’s deadlines. The conflict, unfortunately, has now made its way to a federal court in Oklahoma.

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This litigation could take a long time and be very expensive. I cannot help but wonder about the common interests on both sides. Possible institutional common interests might include reducing conflict, using data to create policy solutions, upholding rigorous and independent scholarship, preserving reputations and avoiding legal fees. The individuals representing the institutions might also have a common interest in being treated with respect — whether as a donor trying to honor his parents or as a university representative trying to preserve academic freedom.

My guess is that, as in most situations, everyone could have done a better job of communicating. Could more time have been spent defining “institute director”? Could there be a misunderstanding about the qualifications of the professors who were hired?

As a human being who feels vulnerable in a volatile world, I implore the parties to reach out to one another, find a solution that meets their respective interests and move forward together on their laudable mission to reduce human suffering and create a more peaceful world.

Teresa F. Frisbie, director

Dispute Resolution Program, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law

Greitens redefines ‘Show Me’ state

According to the Sun-Times briefs, (“Report: Missouri Gov. Greitens initiated unwanted sex acts” — April 11) Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, “initiated a physically aggressive unwanted sexual encounter with his hairdresser and threatened to distribute a partially nude photo of her if she spoke about it.”

So that’s why Missouri is called the “Show Me” state.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

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