Monday, August 03, 2009

In the News Today

I just saw that an alum is suing Monroe College in New York because they haven't helped her sufficiently in her job search. She graduated with a 2.7; the article says
[The alum] suggested that Monroe's Office of Career Advancement shows preferential treatment to students with excellent grades. "They favor more toward students that got a 4.0. They help them more out with the job placement," she said.
Yes, a 4.0 IS going to get more effective help, in part because a 4.0 is probably easier to place, so the same level of help is probably more effective. And a solid attendance record? Seriously?

(But doesn't the quotation sound weird? I wonder if she's a non-native speaker, or if CNN got it wrong? CNN's headline is a bit misleading, in that headline way.)

More to the point, wouldn't it be great if phud grads could sue their departments for "not helping them out" enough to get a job?

I don't know whether she's gotten appropriate help in her job search or not. And I'm no legal beagle, and couldn't tell you if the suit is reasonable. I can't imagine that the college promised to find all grads jobs, but if they promise to provide job search help and didn't do that adequately, who knows? (In the article, it says she hasn't hired an attorney, so who knows what sort of legal advice she's gotten.)

Now I'm sort of wondering how this made the CNN front page. Does some stringer watch the New York courts, and this was the most exciting thing he saw today? ("Hey, Mom, I got a by-line!")


  1. anyone can sue for any thing; a lot of cases get thrown out for having no legal basis. that's not really news. i can't imagine why this story got such coverage, but the quotes probably won't help her job search much.

  2. I saw that as well and wondered what the full story was behind it. I know of one case where legal action was threatened because a graduate student claimed inadequate support for her thesis. The moral of that story being make sure you keep full notes of all supervisory sessions. It didn't go to court, but it was a near thing.

  3. I've just realized this doesn't link to my blog because it isn't on blogger, I'm at

  4. Dear Bardiac,

    I tried emailing you at your yahoo address; wonder if the message got through?

    I had a query about the New Chaucer Society congress in Siena next year. Would you mind emailing me at sjtriggATunimelbDOTeduDOTau

    Many thanks,

    Stephanie Trigg (University of Melbourne),

  5. This even made it into the English press, as I saw it in the Guardian this morning. I think it's a weird story, and wasn't sure if over here it was "Look at those lawsuit happy Americans" or "See what the recession does..."
    But she's surprised that good grades help? Maybe that's why her grades are not so good.

  6. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to hear "favor more toward" from a native speaker. Preposition errors are ridiculously common, especially in situations where people tend to hypercorrect (such as talking to the press).

    I'm in two minds about this case. On the one hand, the student sounds like she has an entitlement mentality and a ridiculously inflated sense of her own qualifications. On the other hand, $70,000 sounds ridiculously steep for a degree from an obscure for-profit institution, so the student's sense that she has been sold a bill of goods is probably accurate, at least on some level.

  7. That's hilarious. On what grounds is she suing the college if she is not personally employable?

  8. Sigh. I wonder how many more of such lawsuits we'll be hearing about after this...

  9. I want to sue my medical school for the loss of my soul.