Former Lehigh University graduate student Megan Thode, 27 – whose father is a professor at the Bethlehem school – has sued the university for $1.3 million in damages because she received a C+ in a finance course, according to multiple reports.
Thode, who was at the time she received the grade enrolled in her final year of a masters program in counseling and human services, needed at least a B to move on to the next course required to complete the degree, according to The Morning Call.
She instead graduated with a masters in human development and now works as a drug and alcohol counselor. Thode says the $1.3 million is to make up for the salary she would have earned over the course of her career, had she graduated from the human services program and obtained employment as a state-certified counselor.
Though her lawyer, Thode is now also claiming the C+ was part of an attempt by her teacher and the degree program's former director to force her out of the graduate program in retaliation for a complaint she filed after having to find a supplemental internship mid-semester. She further alleges the program director was biased against her because she was an LGBT rights advocate.
The school countered that Thode was unfit to move onto the next phase of the program, citing emotional classroom outbursts, and claimed that Thode has already received preferential treatment – including free tuition and access to campus jobs – due to her father's employment as a professor at Lehigh University. She allegedly filed multiple grievances and showed up with her father to numerous meetings in an attempt to get the grade change and obtain financial compensation before the suit was filed.
A Northampton County judge yesterday allowed the trial to continue, in part because of the way the grade was calculated, according to The Express-Times. Thode was given a zero for classroom participation, bumping her grade from a B to a C+, and no other professors that testified could recall grading in such a way.
Arguments are slated to continue this afternoon.