Lehigh University Student Gets C+, Sues for $1.3M

By Andrew Lu on February 14, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A former Lehigh University grad student is suing the school for $1.3 million over a C+ she received for her therapy internship.

As can be expected, a Pennsylvania judge expressed uneasiness over potentially changing the grade, reports The Express-Times. Perhaps the court system should not be "injecting itself" into the academic process, the judge said.

But he allowed the case to continue anyway, over the objections of university lawyers.

The suing grad student, Megan Thode, argued that she unfairly received a C+ for her therapy internship because a student-teacher disagreed with her views on gay marriage, reports The Express-Times.

Furthermore, when Thode complained about the grade, she claims that the school faculty did not properly handle the appeals process -- for example, by failing to provide her with a student advocate.

Ultimately, Thode says that she had to change her degree from a master's degree in education in counseling psychology to a master's in education in human development. Thode wants the judge to change the grade to a B so that she can pursue her goal of becoming a licensed therapist, the Express-Times reports.

So where did the $1.3 million come from? Thode claims that this would be her projected earnings over a lifetime as a licensed therapist.

Strangely, this lawsuit is characterized as a breach of contract lawsuit. Presumably a student enters into a contract with a university by paying tuition, and in exchange, should receive a fair grade for her internship?

That apparently will be a matter for the court to decide. At issue may be whether Thode was given a fair opportunity to have her grade reviewed and appealed pursuant to Lehigh University's policy. In addition, Thode may also try to argue that the teacher's grade was arbitrary.

Thode reportedly received a "zero" out of 25 for class participation. That dropped her grade from a B+ to a C+. None of the professors who were called to testify could ever recall a student getting zero points for participation, the Express-Times reports.

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