Student who received 'C+' sues university for $1.3 million
She claims sex discrimination and breach of contract. Lehigh University says the suit is outrageous?
Do we really want either side to win in this case?
A graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. has sued the school for $1.3 million because she is unhappy that she got a C+ in a class in 2009.
Megan Thode, 27, says the grade ruined her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor, reports The Morning Call, an Allentown-based newspaper. Her civil suit alleges breach of contract and sexual discrimination. It contends that the grade was part of a broader attempt to force her to abandon the graduate degree she was pursuing.
Trial proceedings began Monday in Northampton County and could last the rest of this week.
Thode was in the last year of a master's in counseling and human services in Lehigh's College of Education. She needed a B in the course at issue - a fieldwork class - to qualify for another round of field work, which was required to obtain the degree.
Thode's lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, maintains that she deserved a higher grade. However, her professor, Amanda Carr, awarded her a big, fat zero for classroom participation. That zero brought her grade down.
Orloski has also alleged that Carr and Nicholas Ladany (who was the director of the degree program) conspired against Thode because she and three other students were critical when they were had to search for supplemental internships midway through a semester.
The suit also charges that the course professor treated Thode unfairly because of Thode's support for gay and lesbian causes - a claim Lehigh flatly disputes, according to The Morning Call.
Thode did graduate from Lehigh with a master's degree, but not the one she aspired to have. According to Orloski, the $1.3 million Thode seeks in damages represents the money she'll lose over the course of her career because she isn't able to be a state-certified counselor.
The attorney for the school sounded incredulous in court:
"I think if your honor changed the grade, you'd be the first court in the history of jurisprudence to change an academic grade," Hamburg told the judge presiding over the case. "She has to get through the program. She has to meet the academic standards."
Next, she's going to sue the bank that gave her the student loan because they should have known she was a loser.
But how satisfying is it to see a university squirm? Imagine if a couple of hundred thousand students sued their schools for "breach of contract?" That might change things for the better in a hurry.