Former Provost Sues Former President for Libel, Slander

Temple Update has learned that former Provost Hai-Lung Dai has filed a civil lawsuit against former president Neil Theobald.

A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court document, available to the public, was filed on September 21 by Dr. Dai’s lawyer, Patricia Pierce, lists Dai as the plaintiff in a civil law suit against Dr. Theobald on charges of libel, slander, and misrepresentation.

Temple Update spoke with First Amendment Attorney Gayle Sproles, who said US slander and libel suits can be hard for the plaintiff to prove. “The law is about proof, they have to demonstrate, again, the person who brings the lawsuit, plaintiff has to prove that they were damaged.”

Dr. Theobald announced the dismissal of Dr. Dai through a university-wide email on June 28. There was no reason given in the email as to why Dai was being removed from his post.

Following Dai’s removal, the Board of Trustees took a vote of “no confidence” in Dr. Theobald, and moved to terminate his position with the university. Theobald resigned as president on August 1.

Former provost Hai-Lung Dai is suing former president for libel and slander.
Former provost Hai-Lung Dai is suing former president for libel and slander.

Both remain on Temple University’s staff. Dr. Theobald is currently on a one-year sabbatical, and is a tenured professor in the College of Education. Dr. Dai is a tenured professor of chemistry in the College of Science and Technology.

Dai was replaced by Provost JoAnne Epps, while Theobald has been replaced by Chancellor Richard Englert.

Taggart spoke to Dai earlier this week. He says his attorney advised him not to comment on the suit at this time, but is “waiting for the truth to come out.” As for the board of trustees, they said the university was not named in the filing, and that it would be “inappropriate to comment further at this time.” Dr. Dai has not filed a complaint against the university and no Complaint has been filed yet.

Temple Update has reached out to Dr. Theobald and is awaiting comment.

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