Blogs » Demographics & Dockets » Former Texas Southern University law students sue school over grade dispute,dismissal from law program



Talk about putting academics into practice.

This story out of Houston certainly exemplifies that concept.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that two former Texas Southern University Law School students have filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging they were wrongfully dismissed from the prestigious Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Karla Ford and Jonathan Chan filed the lawsuit on Feb. 2 in U.S. District Court.

The plaintiffs contend they were dismissed from the program after their former professor getting a “D” in their Contracts II course.

"When you believe that you are doing fairly well and you get a grade you feel you don't deserve, it's devastating," Ford, 27, who has bachelor's and master's degrees in administration of justice from TSU, reportedly said. "There is a lot of embarrassment and shame. It took a toll."

"Coming from an Asian family, failing is a tough thing to bring up," Chan, 26, who has a bachelor's degree in administration and marketing from the University of Houston, reportedly said. "The only words I can think of are shameful and disgraceful."

The grades, given by instructor Shelley Smith, were "not based upon their performance on the examinations, but in order to 'curve them out' of law school,” said the lawsuit.

Under law school policy, first-year students must maintain a 2.0 GPA, or C average, to stay in the program. Ford's and Chan's averages fell below that minimum after receiving the D in the contract law course taught by Smith, at the time a visiting professor, said the article.

The Houston Chronicle reports that TSU officials would not comment directly on the lawsuit, but defended the school's grading policy.

The article did not make it clear whether the students had the opportunity to retake the course.

For the full article, click this link.

Without giving my opinion on which party is right or wrong, I have to say the fact that these students went the extra mile to sue the law school certainly shows tenacity and a desire to learn the law.

What are your thoughts on these students’ fight?

Do you think the University was in the right?

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Photo: Melissa Phillip / © 2011 Houston Chronicle