Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Judge: No appeal allowed for Lehigh University student who sued over C-plus grade

A Lehigh University student who sued the school over a C+ grade will not get a new trial, a Northampton County judge decided Monday.

In a one-sentence ruling, Judge Emil Giordano reaffirmed his previous decision and again asserted the grade was handed down to graduate student Megan Thode, now 28, for "purely academic" reasons.

Thode's case drew national attention in February, when she appeared in civil court to demand the school pay her $1.3 million in damages and bump her grade to a B.

Thode, the daughter of Lehigh University professor Stephen Thode, in 2009 received the C+ in a master's degree fieldwork class. Since she needed a B or higher to move on with her studies, she said the grade prevented her from becoming a licensed professional counselor. 

Thode claimed her teacher, who awarded her a zero for classroom participation, discriminated against her because of Thode's advocacy for LGBT rights. She further alleged the teacher conspired with the degree program's then-director to hold her back because she complained about changes made to the class. 

After four days of testimony, Giordano rejected Thode's claims, ruling it was academic evaluation - not discrimination - that led to the less-than-satisfactory grade.

Judging from Giordano's order Monday, it appears he hasn't changed his mind.

Thode ended up graduating from Lehigh with a master's degree in human development and finding work as a drug and alcohol counselor. 

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