EASTON, Pa. (February 14, 2013)-- Northampton County, Pa., Judge Emil Giordano ruled Thursday against a former Lehigh University graduate student who sued in an attempt to have a C+ grade changed to a B.
Megan Thode was also seeking $1.3 million in damages.
Thode received the grade in a 2009 therapist internship course.
She alleged the grade was retaliation for her support for gay marriage.
She said the grade was preventing her from becoming a licensed therapist.
An expert estimated Thode would suffer $1.3 million in damages in lost earnings.
Lehigh University argued that professors, not judges, possess the expertise required to make academic decisions and the instructor testified she stood by the grade.
Prof. Amanda Eckhardt, testified this week that she stood by the grade, saying Thode failed to behave professionally and thus earned zero out of 25 points in class participation, bumping her down a full letter grade.
"I ... believed she received the grade she earned," Eckhardt said.
Eckhardt testified that while she believes marriage is between a man and woman, she would never allow her personal views to influence her treatment of students.
She said Thode had outbursts in class, did not participate appropriately, was emotionally unstable and failed to heed a warning letter.
Stephen Thode, the plaintiff's father and a longtime finance professor at Lehigh, testified on his daughter's behalf and said her participation score was highly irregular.
"I have never heard of a case, not just at Lehigh, where a student achieved a zero in class participation where they attended and participated in every class," he said.