as my life could have gone better if not for that grade i deserved, i am going to need your plan for compensating me financially

one of these days, we’re going to get to the point where finally getting around to hammering out several updates in a couple of days results in some kind of positive, successful feeling, but in order for that to happen, i think we have to do something along the lines of “not being so far behind on all these updates.” as always, we return to the (supposedly) fertile well of “news stories i read involving ridiculous shit.” here we go!

Megan Thode
well, my, don’t YOU look pleasant, Ms. Thode

Lehigh University student sues over grade, seeks $1.3 million

i know that i have spent a lot of time on the internet bashing people who seem to have unrealistic expectations about what life and/or society owe them, but i think what i need to figure out is what age range i am bashing. that said, this subject is 27, so she safety falls into the category of “kids who are younger than your hero janklow, and thus exposed to all that ‘the most important thing in life is self-esteem’ talk.” and she’s a prize:

“Megan Thode isn’t the first Lehigh University student who was unhappy with the grade she received in a course. But she may be the first to sue to get it changed. The C+ that Thode was given scuttled her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor and was part of an effort to force her out of the graduate degree program she was pursuing, said her lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, whose lawsuit seeks $1.3 million in damages. Orloski said his client is the victim of breach of contract and sexual discrimination, and a civil trial began Monday before Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano over the claims. They’re nonsense, said Neil Hamburg, an attorney for Lehigh University.”

i’m sure we’ll break this down further, but i am immediately confused about:
–how one single PASSING grade kills your dream of working as “licensed professional counselor”;
–who actually dreams of being a “licensed professional counselor”;
–how the latter (part of an effort to force her out of the graduate degree program) is being sued over NOW (as opposed to when this happened) if she wasn’t, you know, forced out of the program.

also, i immediately agree with Neil Hamburg despite having not gotten into any of the specifics of this case. we continue!

“”I think if your honor changed the grade, you’d be the first court in the history of jurisprudence to change an academic grade,” Hamburg told Giordano. “I’ve practiced law for longer than I’d like to [admit],” Giordano said, “and I’ve never seen something like this.” But after a day of testimony, a settlement could be in the works, after Giordano called the lawyers into his chambers late Monday and they emerged to hold private discussions with their clients. They are slated to return to court Tuesday with the trial, if it continues, expected to stretch through the week.”

boy, i hope this case doesn’t end before we get some sassy commentary out of this judge. but i also don’t approve of the tone: a settlement in the works doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with this precious “day of testimony” if it’s being done purely as a move to save costs and times. let’s not rush to get on the Megan Thode bandwagon, people!

“Thode, the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode, was attending the Bethlehem school tuition-free in 2009 when she received the poor mark in her fieldwork class. But instead of working to address her failings, she “lawyered up” and demanded a better grade, Hamburg said. “She has to get through the program. She has to meet the academic standards,” Hamburg said. Thode, 27, of Nazareth, was enrolled in the College of Education in her second and final year of a master’s in counseling and human services. She needed a B to take the next course of her field work requirement.”

so, if i understand this correctly, her father WORKS for Lehigh (this cannot be good for his work relationship), she attended this school free of charge, and she sued to get a better grade? ugh. i always remember back to a professor i had who once told me of students of a student of his (wow, this is very complicated) who would angrily demand to have higher grades than they had received because they NEEDED them, no other reasons provided. i have to figure it was only a matter of time before that generation of self-entitled students started suing their instructors.

“Orloski said she would have received that grade but for the zero in classroom participation that she was awarded by her teacher, Amanda Carr. Orloski charged that Carr and Nicholas Ladany — the then-director of the degree program — conspired to hold Thode back because they were unhappy that she’d complained after she and three other students were forced to find a supplemental internship partway through the semester. Orloski also alleged that Carr was biased against Thode because Thode advocated for gay and lesbian rights — a claim Lehigh’s attorneys dismissed as baseless since Carr has a close family member who is a lesbian, and has counseled gay and lesbian people.”

and frankly, i’m distressed (to some extent) that Lehigh’s attorneys even have to argue that hard: Thode alleges a conspiracy that i doubt she can substantiate in ANY way (and i wonder what those other students would say) and then throws in the gay/lesbian thing, which seems like an incredible stretch and i can only assume came up on the grounds of “attempting to prove Carr is such a horrible person that no one could reasonably find for her in a court case without being the person that FOUND IN FAVOR OF HATING ALL THE GAYS.” i suppose it’s more realistic than saying “judge, read my papers and tell the school i deserve a better grade,” but still.

“Hamburg and Michael Sacks, another Lehigh lawyer, said that while Thode may have looked like a good student on paper, she was not ready to move on. They said Thode showed unprofessional behavior that included swearing in class and, on one occasion, having an outburst in which she began crying. After getting the C+, Thode unsuccessfully filed internal grievances over the grade, showed up for meetings with her father, and insisted that Carr give her a written apology and a “plan for compensating me financially,” Sacks said.”

…and i think this is where anyone who wanted to be as fair as possible to Thode checks out. ultimately, even if your professors are dicks, they’re deciding if you’re ready to move on or not. if they don’t, i suppose filing internal grievances IS the thing to do… but then having meetings where you bring your father, who cannot be there for any other reason than to provide peer/professional pressure? demanding not a correction, but a written apology? and financial compensation? get the fuck out of here with that talk.

and there’s another aspect to this “financial compensation” thing…

“With Thode on the witness stand Monday, Sacks underscored that Lehigh paid Thode’s freight — not just as a graduate student, but as an undergraduate at York College of Pennsylvania — because her father is a professor. Sacks also said the university set her up with jobs over the course of her attendance. “Even after you sued Lehigh, you were getting free tuition and working for Lehigh?” Sacks asked. “Yes,” Thode acknowledged.”

so again, she had paid nothing for her undergraduate education AND her graduate education. i understand that these are really perks for her father (as in, it’s got to be part of his compensation package that his child gets free education), but it also means that there’s zero financial loss to Thode over not getting the grades she wants. or is there?!

“Thode ended up graduating from Lehigh with a master’s degree in human development — which is also offered through the College of Education — and now works as a drug-and-alcohol counselor. The $1.3 million she is seeking represents the difference in her earning power over her career if she was instead a state-certified counselor, according to Orloski.”

…no. because she continued to attend and graduate from a school that i would think you would leave if it was so awful and unfair. and, oh, she wants the compensation because she could have earned more. or rather, because she’s 27 and recently graduated and thus cannot have earned so much money in her career that $1.3 million would be the difference between current earnings to date and POSSIBLE current earnings to date, she’s arguing this is FUTURE, UNEARNED money that her one C+ has fucked her out of. doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me, but then i am a guy without a graduate degree yelling about shit on the internet. my opinion may not carry that much weight.

“”She’s literally lost a career,” said Orloski, who told Giordano he has not researched whether other courts have ordered someone’s grade increased.”

no, LITERALLY losing a career would be working as this state-certified counselor –i remain very unclear as to why she can NEVER become a state-certified counselor, but whatever– and then having your job taken away. this is FIGURATIVELY losing a career that you never had for nebulous reasons you cannot really explain. but i do have some good news:

“The latest person to sue a university over a “bad” grade has failed to make her case. As the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call reports, “a Northampton County judge on Thursday rejected the claims of a Lehigh University graduate suing over her C+ grade, a verdict that upheld the school’s insistence that she earned the mark she got.””

the only part about that that makes me sad is the “latest person” part. THIS DAMN COUNTRY!

so let’s take this into more positive territory:

Great Horned Owl
unlike a honey badger, this great horned owl CLEARLY gives a fuck

owl freed from inside SUV

in the past, i think i wrote an update about two kids hitting a coyote going 75 miles per hour, driving eight more hours, and then finding the coyote alive and trapped inside their car. in a classic house of hate turn of events, we have a similar (some might call it “redundant”) series of events:

“An owl has been freed after it was found trapped behind the grille of a sport utility vehicle. When Sonji Coney Williams looked into the grille of her SUV, she noticed huge yellow eyes staring back at her. “I was about to faint,” said Williams. She found an owl stuck inside. On Thursday, she was heading south on the Florida Turnpike. “I was driving about 60 miles per hour, and he never moved, and so I said, ‘Oh, my God, I hit a bird,’ and I felt so bad, but it was very dark,” she said.”

small point: how do “i felt so bad” and “it was very dark” counter each other? is she saying she feels bad because she wouldn’t have hit the bird if it was more light out? because speaking as someone who has also hit a bird (not an owl, though, because i value my life), you don’t tend to hit them because it’s dark, you hit them because you cannot avoid the way they shoot out in front of your car. and if it’s about feeling bad… well, wouldn’t you feel bad regardless of the time of day because you’d killed the bird?

“Williams had no idea the bird she thought she hit was an owl. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life,” said Williams.”

this… this is a little dramatic. i mean, okay, hitting an OWL is a little more exceptional than the average “killed an animal with my car” story, but really, “i’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life?” okay, one time i hit a bat with my car and initially thought it was a bird i’d killed, but it turned out the bat was alive. i took it home and fed it some chicken and it was fine the next day. now, alright, that’s kind of a weird story and it’s the only time i had to nurse a bat back to health, but i don’t think i would declare “i’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life!” although maybe that is just a matter of personal preference?

“The owl strike occurred not too far from Yeehaw Junction in Central Florida. It was not until Friday afternoon, while she was running errands, when Williams noticed the owl was stuck behind the grille of her SUV. “There was a family that pulled in front of my parking space and flagged me down and said, ‘Don’t move, don’t move, you have something in the grille of your car,’ and they said, ‘It’s an owl,'” she said.”

i am noting that the ability to call this accident an “owl strike” makes it sound INCREDIBLY more bad-ass.

“Williams immediately called Florida Fish and Wildlife. An officer showed up, popped the hood of her vehicle open and freed the owl.”

YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK, PEOPLE. i mean it, the guy showed up promptly and did his job. sorry if it sounded sarcastic.

“The owl is a Great Horned Owl, which are common in Central Florida. The officer said the owl appears to be in good shape and suffered no injuries.”

and goddamnit, how are these animals getting so NOT injured when cars crash into them? i mean, okay, i grant that owls have some high-level weird powers due to their feathers and wings and all that, but i was not aware that these powers extended to “immunity from car crashes.” if so, we’re going to need to get some of these automotive companies to start investigating them in the way scientists are always obsessing over the possible powers of spider silk.

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