Ex-Student Sues Lehigh University for Giving Her C+
According to Megan Thode, a C+ she received as a graduate student derailed her dream of being a licensed professional counselor. Now the 27-year-old is suing Lehigh University for $1.3 million, which she says is the amount of money she will lose over her career because she can’t be a state-certified counselor.
Thode needed a B in a fieldwork course to qualify for the next round of field study, which was necessary to get the degree she wanted. However, her professor, Amanda Carr, gave her a zero for class participation, which knocked her grade down to a C+.
Thode, who is suing for breach of contract and sexual discrimination, claims Carr and department head Nicholas Ladany conspired to punish her because she had been critical of some of the department’s procedures and because she had been outspoken in her support of gay and lesbian causes.
In court, Lehigh’s lawyers vehemently denied Thode’s views on sexual equality had anything to do with her grade, and added that her behavior in class — which included profanity and crying — was inappropriate for somebody seeking a career in counseling.
Complicating matters is that Thode is the daughter of a Lehigh professor, meaning the university has paid for both her undergraduate and graduate school education. Megan Thode is also currently employed by Lehigh.
“I think if your honor changed the grade, you’d be the first court in the history of jurisprudence to change an academic grade,” Lehigh’s lawyer told the judge presiding over the case. “She has to get through the program. She has to meet the academic standards.”
If Thode wins this case, which is expected to be decided in the next week, it could lead to an onslaught of similar lawsuits from disgruntled ex-students.
Not so good for most universities, but not so bad for those with law schools.