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Former JPR head sues SOU and university system

 Posted: 2:30 PM January 30, 2013

A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the ousted executive director of Jefferson Public Radio alleges Southern Oregon University and the Oregon University System engaged in blacklisting and civil rights violations.

Ron Kramer, who ran JPR for 37 years, specifically charges Mary Cullinan, SOU president, and George Pernsteiner, outgoing chancellor, with unfairly violating his rights in the manner in which they terminated his contract for employment. The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Kramer is seeking $1.375 million in damages.

Kramer was terminated as executive director of JPR and the JPR Foundation on June 30, 2012, because the university system determined it was a conflict for him to have both positions.

The lawsuit maintains Kramer's dual roles were part of a contractual obligation related to his employment with the university that was approved by the university system, SOU and the Chancellor's Office.

After terminating Kramer, SOU then named Paul Westhelle to take on the same dual roles that the university objected to in the first place, according to the lawsuit. Westhelle continues to be director while the search continues for a separate executive director for the foundation.

— Damian Mann

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