SEARCY, Ark. (BNc) — A former Harding University student today (Feb. 23) asked a federal judge to dismiss his civil rights lawsuit against the University.

Patrick Thompson (36) of Little Rock petitioned Judge William R. Wilson to dismiss the lawsuit he filed Dec. 7, 2006. The case would have gone to trial Feb. 24.

In his lawsuit, Thompson alleged that Harding racially discriminated against him when school administrators suspended him for violations of the school’s code of conduct.

Throughout the process of the lawsuit, Harding administrators have refrained from commenting on the specifics of Thompson’s suspension, citing state and federal statutes that protect the rights of students in disciplinary situations.

“Obviously, we are very pleased Mr. Thompson chose to dismiss his lawsuit,” said David Crouch, director of public relations for Harding. “From the very beginning, administrators have affirmed Mr. Thompson was treated fairly and consistently within the framework of Harding’s established policies.

“The time-consuming and expensive process of preparing for a trial to defend our actions in this unwarranted lawsuit is now behind us. It is time for both parties to move forward.”

Harding had a record enrollment this year of more than 6,500 students from 48 states and 52 foreign countries. It is the largest private university in Arkansas and attracts more National Merit Scholars than any other private university in the state. Harding also maintains campuses in Australia, Chile, England, France/Switzerland, Greece, Italy and Zambia.