February 15, 2013 in Nation/World

Judge tosses lawsuit over C+ grade

Riley Yates McClatchy-Tribune

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – A Northampton County, Pa., judge rejected the claims of a Lehigh University student suing over her C+ grade, reaching the verdict following a trial that captured national and international attention.

Judge Emil Giordano decided that the university neither breached contract nor sexually discriminated against Megan Thode, whose lawsuit sought $1.3 million in damages.

Both sides completed their cases Thursday morning in a legal fight pitting a university that maintained it must protect its academic standards against a graduate who says she was deprived of a career by faculty members with a grudge.

Thode, the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode, was attending the Bethlehem university tuition-free in 2009 when she got the C+ in her master’s fieldwork class. She needed a B or higher to take the next course, and her attorney, Richard J. Orloski, argued that his client’s dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor was unfairly scuttled as a result.

Orloski told Giordano during closing arguments that the case was always about correcting an injustice, and not money. He said Thode would be happy if Giordano awarded her $1, while raising her grade to a B.

Neil Hamburg, an attorney for Lehigh, told Giordano that the courts have long deferred to academic institutions to determine what grades they should award.

Hamburg said Thode earned her C+ by showing an inability to self-reflect and take and respond to criticism, an inability he argued that she demonstrated by pursuing the litigation.

Get stories like this in a free daily email

Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus