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Dear Lehigh Grad: Deal With Your C+

An open letter to Megan Thode in Forbes magazine says the Lehigh grad isn't entitled to a good grade unless she earned it.

Forbes magazine has published an open letter to Megan Thode, the Lehigh University grad who lost a lawsuit over a C+ grade that, she claims, greatly diminished her career earning potential.

Thode's case went to trial in Northampton County court last week.

Forbes contributor J. Maureen Henderson, who writes about early career issues, penned a letter to Thode that reads, in part:

"Despite the fact that you received free tuition and on-campus employment as a result of the fact that your father is a professor at your alma mater, you are not owed anything by Lehigh University other than the provision of classes, learning resources, access to faculty and facilities in which to experience said learning and perhaps a student parking spot."

Here's the background of the case:

Judge Emil Giordano ruled against Thode, of Nazareth, who sued Lehigh University for $1.3 million because, she claims, a poor grade in one class diminished her lifetime earning potential.

The "plaintiff 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 Thursday, according to a WFMZ report.

Thode, 27, claimed sexual discrimination in the case. Lehigh University countered that Thode behaved unprofessionally -- including swearing in class -- and hadn’t earned the right to move on in the program. Thode took the stand Thursday and denied yelling a swear word at her teacher, The Morning Call reported.

The $1.3 million is the difference between what Thode would have earned with the degree she was seeking as opposed to her current lifetime earning potential, according to her attorney, Richard J. Orloski.

Thode was attending graduate classes in Lehigh’s School of Education tuition free because her father, Stephen Thode, is a Lehigh finance professor.

The C+ grade given during the fall 2009 semester forced Thode out of the graduate counseling program, ending her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor. She instead got a master’s degree in human development and works as a drug and alcohol counselor, according to The Morning Call.

Orloski charged that Thode was held back because she complained about having to get a supplemental internship in the middle of the semester and also because she is an outspoken supporter of gay and lesbian marriage rights.

Thode’s student teacher for the class, Amanda Eckhardt, dismissed that claim in testimony, according to The Express Times. While she believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, she has a sister who is a lesbian and would be the matron of honor at her wedding if she were asked, the newspaper reported.

However, Eckhardt also testified that she gave Thode an unprecedented zero points out of a possible 25 for class participation, which knocked down her final grade by a full letter, The Express Times reported.

Kaos8 February 19, 2013 at 07:46 PM
Suck it up! You got a free ride, which these days is almost unheard of and the rising cost of schooling and lack of jobs in certain fields has made many people not even have the option to go to school...Not to mention you probably have made things difficult for your father, who is the reason you even got your "free ride"..how ungreatful could you be...I seriously doubt it was just one reason you got a C+..Not to mention- there are a million people out there with no education making a ton of money..Quit blaming others for your short comings..You want something, you work hard at it and go out and get it!
Heather Depew February 20, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Exactly....this student is just another example of the Entitlement Generation...expecting something for nothing.

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