Lawsuit against Young Harris College alleges anti-hazing remarks led to firings

Two former instructors filed a lawsuit against Young Harris College saying they lost their jobs because they spoke out about hazing at the private liberal arts college.

Shortly after Theresa Crapanzano and Joseph Terry shared their concerns they were terminated, according to the lawsuit filed in March.

A third plaintiff, student Jo Hannah Burch, says she was hazed while pledging a sorority in early 2012. Burch is still enrolled at the college.

The lawsuit claims the college violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and state negligence laws.

Young Harris has denied the allegations and said in a statement that hazing goes against the school’s values. The college already suspended the sorority, Gamma Psi, for violating the no-hazing policy.

Crapanzano was hired on a one-year non-renewal contract and was let go when her contract ended, said attorney Ruth W. Woodling, who is representing the college. Terry was terminated after he failed to complete his doctoral degree as promised, she said. He received three extensions, she said.

“This lawsuit contains false, sensational allegations on multiple fronts, all of which are far removed from the everyday reality we live on our campus,” according to a statement from the college. “We look forward to addressing all these matters in the proper forum, which is the courts.”

The college has until May 27 to respond to the suit.

The North Georgia school enrolls more than 1,000 students. Cathy Cox, a former Democratic state lawmaker and secretary of state, has served as president since 2007.