LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — An associate journalism professor at the University of Kentucky is suing the school, its Title IX coordinator and a former student who complained about him, alleging defamation and retaliation. Buck Ryan filed the lawsuit last week, the Courier Journal reports. It accuses the university of weaponizing its Office of Institutional Equity to retaliate against him whenever it faces public criticism, such as when Ryan was punished in a 2016 “sexual misconduct” case for what he said was, in part, singing a song with sexual lyrics.
The former student named in Ryan's lawsuit had filed a Title IX complaint accusing the professor texting and calling her outside of class time and on weekends, and even offering her tickets to a UK football game, which she declined. She also spoke about it with the student newspaper, which Ryan said defamed him and damaged his reputation.
University President Eli Capilouto said Ryan's lawsuit lacks merit and is an effort to intimidate others.
"We will not allow a member of our community to be intimidated," Capilouto wrote in an email to the university community on Friday. "In addition to defending our university and Title IX coordinator, we will be paying for our student’s defense."
The university moved to fire Ryan last year after it found he was requiring students to buy his textbook and was keeping undisclosed royalties. A faculty committee later asked the school drop the termination proceedings. He sued school officials for defamation and retaliation in April. That case was dismissed last month. Ryan referred questions about his lawsuit to his lawyer, Robert Abell, who denied trying to intimidate anyone.