Sweet Briar College faces one of two lawsuits in Bedford Court

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Sweet Briar College faces one of two lawsuits in Bedford Court (Image 1)

BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) - More than 50 faculty members joined the legal fight to stop Sweet Briar College from closing.

The group filed a lawsuit against the school seeking $40 million in damages and had their first day in court Thursday. 

Representatives from the school and around twelve faculty members were in the Bedford County courtroom. Both sides agreed that on May 15, the day before graduation, the faculty and their attorneys will start giving evidence to Sweet Briar's legal counsel.

Lawyers for faculty members say evidence will prove Sweet Briar College's financial situation is not as bad as school leaders claim and the college's $84 million endowment is enough to keep the doors open. 

"If it were the crisis situation, I would like to see the action to address a crisis. I would like to see solutions come up with. I would like to see an engagement of the faculty and the engagement of the alumni move ahead an address that crisis. Crisis is just don't blow up in March and compel closing," anthropology professor Deborah Durham said.

The case between the college and Sweet Briar faculty will be heard again on June 3, when both sides will present evidence to the judge.

Attorney's for Saving Sweet Briar will be back in Bedford County Court Monday morning for a separate case against the school regarding a judge's decision the school cannot sell its assets for six months.

Despite Thursday's ruling, the college is asking for permission to sell four assets - its junior year abroad program, hazardous material in chemistry labs, the school's horses and faculty computers.

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