Elon University has filed for dismissal of a lawsuit from former student Samuel Shaw on grounds that Shaw’s claims of a breach of contract are invalid. 

The 18-page document filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District Court of North Carolina on Thursday suggests that Elon’s Student Handbook is not a contract, and asks the court to dismiss the case. 

In June, Shaw filed an 11-page lawsuit against Elon alleging the university levied a heavier punishment on him after he fought with Elon senior Spencer Schar last October. Schar is the son of Martha and Dwight Schar, two of the university’s wealthiest donors whose $12 million gift to Elon in 2014 was used toward construction of the 5,100-seat Schar Center arena as well as Schar Hall, the newly expanded facility of the School of Communications. Shaw’s original lawsuit was filed in Alamance County Superior Court. His amended complaint, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks $75,000 in damages. 

In the lawsuit, Shaw alleges the university breached its contract with him, saying it treated him unfairly. But in its response, Elon claims that the Student Handbook is not a contract. The response says the handbook is flexible, making it not applicable to this lawsuit. 

“Because the university reserves the right to update, and therefore change, the terms of the Student Handbook at any time, and because of the procedures set forth are specifically stated as flexible, well-established North Carolina law establishes that the Student Handbook cannot be considered a binding contract,” the response said. 

In a statement, Vice President for University Communications Dan Anderson further defended the university, but said privacy laws prevents Elon from releasing more information.

“Elon University has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by Samuel Shaw. The allegations made by Mr. Shaw are false,” the statement reads. 

“Federal law protects the privacy of specific student information. Therefore, Elon will not discuss the allegations included in this litigation. We will provide evidence through the legal process that the facts presented by Mr. Shaw are not true and do not have merit.”

Shaw’s attorney could not be reached Friday when called. 


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