Grad Student Sues Lehigh University for $1.3M Over a C+

Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 12:10 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A former Lehigh University graduate student is suing her alma mater for $1.3 million for a C+ grade she received back in 2009.

Megan Thode, 27, claims the grade ruined her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor and was part of a larger plan to force her out of the graduate program she was enrolled in, according to The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa.

The civil suit also alleges breach of contract and sexual discrimination. Trial proceedings began Monday.

Thode was on the second and final year of her Master's Degree in Counseling and Human Services in the College of Education at the school in Bethlehem, Pa. The minimum grade of a B is required in the program for the fieldwork class to move forward with the requirement, but she received a C+, thanks to the class participation portion of her grade, for which she got a zero.

Richard Orloski, Thode's lawyer, claims Amanda Carr, the professor who gave Thode the C+, treated his client unfairly because of her support for gay and lesbian causes. Lehigh has emphatically disputed that accusation, according to The Morning Call.

Neil Hamburg, one of the attorneys for Lehigh, says that Thode’s behavior in class was not acceptable for someone seeking a master’s degree in counseling. On at least one occasion, he said, she used profanity in class. Another time, she broke down crying.

Thode, the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode, was attending the school tuition-free. She ended up graduating with a master's in Human Development, but it wasn't the degree she aspired to have. Orloski told The Morning Call that the $1.3 million in damages represents the money she will lose over the course of her career because she isn’t able to be a state-certified counselor.

Thode currently works as a drug-and-alcohol counselor.

The suit had people on Twitter buzzing.

Related stories:

Yale Suing Former Students for Failing to Repay Perkins Loans

Lawsuit Claims Racial Segregation at Md. Universities 

Student Speech Against Gay Marriage Prompts Lawsuit

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