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ERIC Number: EJ803890
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun-13
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
Texas Court's Ruling in Bonfire Case Widens Liability Worries for College Officials
Mangan, Katherine
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n40 pA26 Jun 2008
A Texas court's recent ruling that allowed a negligence lawsuit to proceed against 12 former administrators at Texas A&M University has some higher-education legal experts concerned about campus officials' liability in a variety of situations, including fraternity initiations, housing accidents, and student suicides. The decision was in favor of the parents of students who were killed or injured in November 1999 on the College Station campus, in the collapse of a 59-foot-high stack of logs under construction for a bonfire. Twelve students were killed, and 27 were injured. State and federal courts have ruled that Texas A&M itself cannot be sued because of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which holds that governments and their agencies, including public colleges, are immune from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution. By a 2-to-1 late last month, the court upheld a lower court's decision giving the plaintiffs a green light to sue the administrators as individuals in state courts, even though the accident had occurred during the course of their work for the university.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas