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Saffari lawyer: “he was stifled” on enrollment figures

Click here to read more about the lawsuit.

The defendants are as yet mum on the lawsuit between Mahmoud Saffari and SCSU/President Potter, but Saffari’s lawyer, Judith K. Schermer, recently shed some light on the latest developments.

“I think Dr. Saffari would like to resolve this and get on with his life,” Schermer said. “He’s concerned about his reputation.”

Schermer said there hasn’t been discussion of settling the case out of court yet, but that most civil cases are settled as such.

She re-emphasized the suit’s assertion about distress and trauma that Saffari said he experienced as a result of his termination.

“That’s the sad thing, he came here, wanted to do a good job,” Schermer said. “It was just so devastating for him to lose this position, because he cared so much about what he was doing.”

According to the suit and Schermer’s statements, Saffari had an enrollment plan that was dismissed by President Potter, who then convened a committee to draft a new plan. This committee was allegedly dissolved and Saffari terminated roughly a month before the new plan was to be presented.

Still, Schermer said the lawsuit isn’t about the best plan to increase enrollment.

“What it’s really about was that Dr. Saffari was not allowed to give his input, and not allowed to give out such basic information as the enrollment figures,” she said.

In the general allegations of the lawsuit, item 11 states: “On several occasions, [Saffari] was directed not to share enrollment figures with faculty or a particular administrator and when he raised issues or concerns about factors that were negatively impacting enrollment he was silenced.”

“To be a good university, you have to be able to have that exchange of ideas, and it’s not just an exchange of ideas in the classroom, it needs to be exchange of ideas at the administrative level, too,” Schermer said.

Saffari did not list reinstatement as “relief requested.” Schermer said this was deliberate, and the real goal is to undo alleged damage to his reputation as a result of the termination and the circumstances surrounding it.

Despite numerous requests for comment, neither of the defendants or their representatives have addressed the lawsuit.

The Chronicle will continue to seek input from the greatest possible variety of sources on this issue. Please contact us with tips, questions or comment, and click here to view all our coverage.

Saffari v. SCSU, Potter Complaint by

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Molly Willms is the Editor at the University Chronicle. She is also a staff writer and photographer.

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