Two Appalachian State University faculty members are part of a group of 17 faculty and staff in the University of North Carolina system who are part of a class-action lawsuit and motion for a temporary restraining order filed Monday August 10.

The Watauga Democrat reports plaintiffs seek a judgment citing an increased risk of COVID-19 infection to employees working on campus, and seeks a temporary restraining order as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions to delay reopening public universities to in-person instruction due to COVID-19 concerns.

App State faculty members Clark Maddux, the director of the Watauga Residential College and a professor of interdisciplinary studies, along with Matthew Robinson, a professor in the Department of Government and Justice Studies, are among the plaintiffs in the suit.

The complaint stated that the conduct of the UNC system is “negligent, reckless and/or ultra-hazardous.”

Arguments state that the injunction seeks to prevent institutions from violating an employee’s right under state law to a safe workplace that is free from recognized hazards or dangerous activities that are “likely to cause them injury or death.”

An attorney representing the plaintiffs said those who made the decision to reopen the UNC system campuses did so with the knowledge that it places employees at a greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 than if the system limited the number of students on campus and held classes completely online.