The latest person to sue a university over a "bad" grade has failed to make her case.
As the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call reports, "a Northampton County judge on Thursday rejected the claims of a Lehigh University graduate suing over her C+ grade, a verdict that upheld the school's insistence that she earned the mark she got."
The Morning Call adds that: "After four days of testimony in a civil trial that captured worldwide attention, Judge Emil Giordano decided that the Bethlehem university neither breached a contract with nor sexually discriminated against Megan Thode, whose lawsuit had sought $1.3 million in damages."
If I have a car and slash it's tires, then that's going to prevent me from getting to work and will result in lost income. Do I sue the manufacturer?ReplyDelete
you sue the English prof that slashed your tires because you used "it's" as a possessive. (wink)Delete
In America? If so, yes.ReplyDelete
Say, does anyone know whose arm is resting on the lady in question...that could be another lawsuit.
The arm is probably her father's. He was a prof at the same university. Of course, he stayed completely out of it and let due process do its job... not.Delete
1. She had been planning to become a therapist. But she lacked the emotional resources to accept a challenge and do the necessary work to get past it.ReplyDelete
2. Her father is a professor at the college she was attending and suing.
Can my jaw drop any lower?
I had to pick mine up off the floor.Delete
While it sounds like the gatekeeping function of this particular course does, indeed, incur a risk of the professor abusing hir power, I, too, suspect that both were quite appropriately deployed in this case.Delete
The fact remains that the student was otherwise passing and she failed because of the participation grade. Or, she got zero for participation even though she was, in fact, participating. The professor may be right that a person who argues too much and cries in class is not temperamentally suited for the profession. However, at this point, it still looks like she was prematurely rejected instead of being allowed to fail on her own merits, perhaps after a more advanced course where her exams and papers were no longer satisfactory, more practical experience where she proved incompetent, or some serious incident. In fact, since a degree does not guarantee success, maybe she deserved to get the degree and if she couldn't find work afterwards, or not for long, that would have been her own problem. Instead, she was removed because the professor must have felt that someone like her just won't do. It may have been true, but it looks unfair and premature. And some people do beat the odds if they are allowed to try long enough.Delete
I dislike "participation" grades,and don't use them. That said:Delete
a longer article somewhere explained that when the issue first came up she was given written advice on what she would need to do in order to ensure she got participation credit.
The final grade wasn't a unilateral thing by the prof, who had sought guidance from the uni before assigning the zero.
Finally, her lawyer told her not to sue.
A lot of students do fail on their own merits, but I don't know when "premature" ends. If there's some kind of work placement / internship / practicum, which I guess therapists would have to do, then - if reports of her behaviour are true - she doesn't sound ready.
She had the chance to retake the class one year later. It's not as if she was booted from the uni.
If she retook the course, the professor would have probably assigned lower grades for other things, too, to make sure she won't get that close next time. It doesn't even have to be a matter of obviously persecuting her or failing her all the time. It's just that the grades wouldn't have added up to as much as they did now. On the other hand, participation grades are subjective and the student had participated, so trying to get a higher participation grade was a better move for the student. It's just that it didn't work.Delete
I doubt there is anything premature about her getting zero points for participation. This case went before two university appeals boards, with the student's father attempting to influence the proceedings on her behalf, then it went to court (she lost), then she lost a request for a new trial and recently lost yet another appeal, this time in Pennsylvania Superior Court.Delete
It is also unlikely that she "was removed" from the program for a single grade of C+. I have yet to encounter a program that does not allow a student to repeat a course to attain a sufficient grade in a prerequisite course. More likely she withdrew from the program to pursue another degree.
It looks like while I was researching and writing, some additional conversation took place. I see an allegation of probable continued bias against the student, in the form of reducing her grades across the board were she to retake the course. We should recall that such bias was not found in the first place, not by two university review boards, nor by a judge.Delete
I was pretty sure I'd been led to this story on this very site, quite some time ago. In fact, I was: what-fuck-is-up-montana.ReplyDelete
From one of the Morning Call articles: "Orloski argued Thode would have received a better grade but for the zero in classroom participation that Carr awarded her." Students always argue something like this. It amounts to "I would have more total points if you had given me more points on this one part of the grade." It's just silly.
Student: You gave me a B and that caused my GPA to go below 3.0, and now I'm losing financial aid because of you!
Me: You are 2/3rds of the way through the program. There is no way a single B has put you below 3.0 unless you got one or more grades below that before this. And when I say 'got', I mean the past tense of 'get', as in to procure, obtain, et cetera. We don't give grades here; you earn them.
But in this case, the issue is the grade in one particular required course, not her GPA. She needed a B in that particular course just to stay in the program (this was a graduate program) and she was very close, as she got a C+. Or, the participation grade that might have made a difference was a zero for a student who was, in fact, participating. It's just that the professor found her participation "unprofessional". What is unsatisfactory does not necessarily earn zero points. An F is not the same thing as zero. Even 50% or half the points is still an F. If getting a high F plus a little something for having participated (which, after all, she did) would have made a difference, the student could perhaps have gotten that B while failing or barely passing the participation component.Delete
How are you defining "participation", Monica?Delete
How I define it is irrelevant. What matters is how it was defined for that particular course. However, the student was not absent or always shutting up. On the contrary, she was talking and arguing with the professor. Therefore, she must have deserved something higher than zero. If the difference between a zero and some low grade, perhaps the equivalent of an F, would have allowed her to get a B in the course, maybe she had a point.Delete
Her sole participation was apparently in the form of complaining of a headache, asking for aspirin, and other irrelevancies.Delete
You have conceded that how you define 'participation' is irrelevant. Therefore, you cannot also say that her contribution merited a participation grade higher than zero. To claim otherwise, you'd be presuming to define participation, and/or you'd have to know more of the situation than what is available in the public accounts, indeed more than the appeals boards who have upheld the zero for that component of the course, which seems unlikely.
Monica is always a contrarian. Just look at her comments in the past. She's not a troll; I know she means well. But even in a case like this - which seems wholly black and white to me - she sides with the student and casts aspersions on profs. It's okay; it's a valid point of view.ReplyDelete
But don't bother trying to reason with her.
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I think there's room for contrary views to be expressed here, and I have likely even provided a few of my own. They are sometimes useful in that they help focus the "pro" argument. They also shine light on things to keep in mind for other cases.Delete
That is not to say that the pro and con arguments have equal validity in all cases. In this case, the student had been given written instructions on how to improve her participation grade. Rather than comply, she opted to involve her father and then an attorney. She had about 3.5 years from the incident to gather evidence, secure witnesses, etc. before going to trial. She was not able to reach the "preponderance of evidence" standard in a civil court, much less the "beyond all reasonable doubt" standard. It is quite difficult to see the merit of a "con" view in this case.
Very well said!Delete