Judge Emil Giordano of Northampton County in Pennsylvania chastised both parties in a lawsuit filed by a Lehigh University grad. The grad is suing because of her C+ grade. Judge Giordano said that it is “regrettable” the case has reached court, according to The Morning Call.
Later in the day, Giordano rejected a motion by the lawyers for the school to have the case dismissed. Instead, Giordano will allow a fourth day of testimony in the suit that is asking for $1.3 million. The student who filed the lawsuit, Megan Thode, claims that she has been kept from a career because of faculty who have a grudge.
“When you peel away all the smoke and mirrors that have been presented in the courtroom, what we have is an academic judgment … as to whether Ms. Thode met the requirements of [her] course and whether she was competent to move forward,” Lehigh attorney Michael Sacks said.
Thode is the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode and was attending the school for free when she received a C+ in her master’s fieldwork class. She had to receive a B or higher to move to the next course. Her lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, argued that Thode’s dream of working as a licensed counselor was scuttled because of the grade.
Orloski said that Thode would have received a higher grade if it were not for the zero in classroom participation issued by the teacher, Amanda Carr. Orloski claims that Carr and Nicholas Ladany, at the time the director of the degree program, conspired to hold Thode back for the reason that she and three others complained about being forced to find supplemental internships in the middle of the semester.
“It’s regrettable that this case hasn’t been resolved,” Giordano said. “I remain unconvinced that the judiciary should be injecting itself in the academic process.”
Ladany testified on Wednesday, saying that Thode was issued a C+ so she would be able to acquire the skills needed to move towards her profession. Thode is now a dean at Santa Clara University. Ladany also said that Thode did not have self reflection and was not willing to listen to criticism.
Thode did graduate from the school with a master’s degree and works as a drug and alcohol counselor.