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Linn State launches legal defense fund

Linn State Technical College announced Thursday that it has set up a legal fund to help defend itself against the American Civil Liberties Union.

On September 14, 2011, the ACLU filed a federal class action lawsuit charging Linn State with violating the constitutional rights of its students by forcing them to submit to mandatory drug screening.

“The drug screening was implemented in the spirit of what is best for our students,” said Dr. Donald Claycomb, president of Linn State.  “It is based on our mission and the environment students are in from the standpoint of safety and preparation for employment.”

Based on feedback from a survey of 333 of the college’s advisory council members, Linn State began researching and eventually implementing a drug screening program.   In December 2008, 49 percent or 163 advisory council members returned the survey and of those, 83 percent or 135 indicated their support of a drug screening program at the college.

Since the filing of ACLU’s suit, Linn State continues to receive overwhelming support from business and industry for the drug screening program.

“We appreciate the number of people wanting to support us,” says Claycomb.  “Our industry advisors have guided us and supported us through this process and recognize that we’re a small institution that’s been brought into an expensive legal battle.”

Since the infancy of the program, Linn State has worked closely with legal counsel to design and administer a responsible drug screening program that protects both students and their rights.

“Linn State Technical College takes seriously its responsibility to deliver quality technical education to students while exploring every available avenue to protect and prepare those students to compete effectively in occupations where pre-employment drug testing is quickly becoming the norm,” said Kent Brown, legal counsel for Linn State.

"In the designing of the program, the college made every effort to protect the rights of students by providing for numerous levels of due process and allowing students who objected to the program to request to be excused from testing,” said Brown.  

According to Brown a legal defense would not have been necessary had the ACLU responded to the College’s attempts to involve them in the design and administration of a responsible drug screening program that would protect both students and their rights.

As the college prepares its legal defense, Linn State supporters recognize the college’s need for funds to cover the cost of legal fees.  “With a number of our stakeholders wanting to provide their help and assistance, we felt it would be in our best interest to provide a vehicle separate from current financial arrangements by which our supporters could help us financially with our legal defense,” said Claycomb.

Linn State has set up a legal defense fund with Central Bank in Jefferson City, Missouri to which any person can donate any amount of money they choose to give.  Checks can be made payable to the LSTC Legal Defense Fund.  Donations can be dropped off at any Central Bank location in Jefferson City.   Donors can also send donations to the attention of Kathy Crow at Central Bank, P.O. Box 779, Jefferson City, MO 65101. 

For more information, contact Carla McDaniel at 573.897.5111.

With more than 35 programs, Linn State Technical College is Missouri’s only public two-year technical college with a statewide mission.   LSTC prepares students for profitable employment and a life of learning.  LSTC has three locations in Linn, Mexico and Jefferson City.     

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