“Lehigh U. student sues over grade, seeks $1.3 M”

by Walter Olson on February 12, 2013

In a case that went to trial Monday in Northampton County, Pa., Megan Thode is suing Lehigh University over the C+ she was given in a graduate education course. Thode, the daughter of a Lehigh faculty member, “was attending the Bethlehem school tuition-free in 2009 when she received the poor mark in her fieldwork class. … She needed a B to take the next course of her field work requirement.” [Allentown Morning Call] Update: Judge rules against her.

{ 18 comments }

1 John Fembup 02.12.13 at 1:03 pm

self-esteem gone mad

2 wfjag 02.12.13 at 1:50 pm

“Hamburg and Michael Sacks, another Lehigh lawyer, said that while [Plaintiff] Thode may have looked like a good student on paper, she was not ready to move on. They said Thode showed unprofessional behavior that included swearing in class and, on one occasion, having an outburst in which she began crying.

After getting the C+, Thode unsuccessfully filed internal grievances over the grade, showed up for meetings with her father [ a Leigh University Professor], and insisted that [Professor] Carr give her a written apology and a ‘plan for compensating me financially,’ Sacks said.”

Does the term “Helicopter Parent” ring any bells? Parents who do not expect their children to face consequences, and protect them against the vicissitudes of life while children and teenagers, then wonder why their children do not mature and cannot deal with the normal problems of life.

3 theprez98 02.12.13 at 3:12 pm

The last sentence is telling: “I have nothing against you setting national precedent here,” Orloski told the judge.

4 Carlitguy 02.12.13 at 4:12 pm

We are, I assume, expected to somehow believe that “its not about the money”, right? The alternative would be to pass the student on with their desired “A” so they can fail in the real world, then sue the school for failure to hold them back…

But perhaps I’ve grown too cynical?

5 boblipton 02.12.13 at 4:22 pm

I went to Lafayette, I think it’s funny as h^^l.

Bob

6 Jim Collins 02.12.13 at 5:26 pm

I do. If she wins this and it sets a precedent, the next person could be a Mechanical Engineering student who fails Dynamics until the professor gives him a passing grade to avoid being sued. He then gets a job designing the brakes for your car.

7 meepmeep 02.12.13 at 5:47 pm

Wow, a self-entitled child who can’t accept consequences or attend meetings without her daddy is now a drug and alcohol counselor? This should end well.

8 Dan 02.12.13 at 7:13 pm

Look at this a slightly different way. There exists a State credential that can be granted or denyed at the subjective judgement of two people that is worth over $1,000,000 over a lifetime. Is it really the case that a half a letter grade difference will result in an increase to the common good greater than the $1.3 million, or is the difference the result in a cartel artificially setting the standard and restricting the supply of counsellors to their own benefit?

9 ras 02.12.13 at 8:30 pm

“I have nothing against you setting national precedent here,” Orloski told the judge.

“Good idea; you are hereby found in contempt by reason of obviousness,” the judge compliantly replied.

10 Richard Nieporent 02.12.13 at 8:44 pm

With Thode on the witness stand Monday, Sacks underscored that Lehigh paid Thode’s freight — not just as a graduate student, but as an undergraduate at York College of Pennsylvania — because her father is a professor. Sacks also said the university set her up with jobs over the course of her attendance.

What Chutzpah! You get a free education and you turn around and sue the school.

After getting the C+, Thode unsuccessfully filed internal grievances over the grade, showed up for meetings with her father, and insisted that Carr give her a written apology and a “plan for compensating me financially,” Sacks said.

I gather her father must be a tenured professor to be able to get away with pulling a stunt like that.

The $1.3 million she is seeking represents the difference in her earning power over her career if she was instead a state-certified counselor, according to Orloski.

Of course she would have. All it takes is getting the degree and you are guaranteed work for life.

11 Roy B 02.13.13 at 10:42 am

So, she was working on her Masters degree – for free (!), received a C+ and rather than review why and retake the course (for free) she chooses the entitlement route. Wow, I would really want to send people to this woman for counseling, she would really help them to take control of their circumstances and move on with their lives.

12 Jim 02.13.13 at 10:43 am

I find for the plaintiff and award her a boot-assisted one-way trip to the moon.

13 lhghgrad2 02.13.13 at 11:52 am

The comments and the media attacks against Ms. Thode are unfair and highly speculative. Did anyone take a minute to assume that maybe she was being unfairly treated or harassed by her professors? She submitted all of her assignments, participated in class, but perhaps because she did not always agree with her professors, she was given a “0” for class participation? In a way, I was Ms. Thode just one year before her experience, working with one of the named defendants in the law suit, who was indeed a bully, abusing his power and using his influence to remove me from a program that I had worked diligently towards completing, just as was done to Ms. Thode. It’s not about a C+ – it’s about keeping someone from completing the last steps of her program. Be brave, Ms. Thode – you and I both know how this professor operates, and I wish that I had taken legal action like you did against him.

14 boblipton 02.13.13 at 1:31 pm

Thank you, lhghgrad2, for bringing reason to this discussion. I must remember to go back and get my grade school arithmetic tests rescored on that thesis.

Bob

15 Robert 02.13.13 at 5:38 pm

She’s in the School of Education and she added “sex discrimination” to her list of complaints? Aren’t Ed.D. programs 95% women?

16 Leland D. Davis 02.14.13 at 3:00 pm

My mother, a career public school teacher (high school biology) had contempt for education departments at universities and ed schools in general. She viewed ed departments as offering content-lite fluff instead of anything of value to her as a teacher. She highly valued course content education – as a biology teacher, learn more biology – and went on to take a number of courses in her subject area beyond what was required for certification.

17 Mike 02.14.13 at 5:54 pm

lhghgrad2, you have the advantage of me. I, personally, have never been Ms. Thode.

18 wfjag 02.15.13 at 12:06 pm

Suit dismissed:

The “plaintiff [Thode] failed to establish that the university based the awarded grade of C+ on anything other than purely academic reasons,” the judge said in his ruling.

http://www.wfmz.com/news/news-regional-lehighvalley/Judge-rules-against-Megan-Thode-Lehigh-grad-in-1-3M-lawsuit-over-bad-grade/-/132502/18547540/-/1mb618z/-/index.html

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