Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, filed a wrongful termination suit Friday against Central Washington University and is seeking over $2 million in damages for, among other things, emotional distress and damage to the lawmaker's reputation.
CWU fired Manweller Tuesday, concluding its months-long investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the lawmaker. Manweller has denied any wrongdoing.
“The things that are true are not inappropriate, and the things that are inappropriate are not true,” Manweller said in a video statement Aug. 1, preempting public release of the university's decision to fire him.
The university has not released Manweller's termination letter or a copy of the investigation's final report, which university officials have said fully detail the reasons given for firing the lawmaker.
The report and letter are expected to be made public Aug. 27, unless Manweller requests a court block their release. Manweller said via text Friday that he would allow the documents to become public in the middle of next week.
In court filings, Manweller's defense said that the recent investigation is just one more in a long line of politically motivated investigations the university has conducted against Manweller, pointing to investigations in 2012 and 2013. Filings also posit that the university had decided in December 2017, prior to beginning the most recent investigation, that Manweller must either resign or face termination.
“In 2012 Central conducted a similar investigation and found nothing,” Manweller said in a press release Friday. “They ended up paying my attorney $15,000 in legal fees as part of the settlement. Then the University gave me a promotion and raise.”
“The liberal University administration is also trying to silence my high-profile Republican voice on campus,” Manweller continued. “Clearly academic freedom has limits at Central when it
comes to conservatives.”
CWU officials declined to comment on Manweller's lawsuit, citing policies that don't allow the university to comment on pending litigation.
Manweller said via text Friday that he did not wish to return to work at CWU, regardless of how the suit concludes.
“After 16 years of consistent workplace harassment I feel it would be very difficult to teach in such a hostile environment,” Manweller said.