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Monday, June 25, 2007

Got an F? Sue!

The NY Post has a story today about a student who received an F -- and is suing Columbia's nursing school.

Nicholas Perrino was kicked out of the Ivy League institution's School of Nursing for missing an exam, and now he is suing to get back in.

"I should have went to Yale," moaned Perrino, who is representing himself in the case.

The 27-year-old Illinois native said he was working toward two master's degrees last summer, when his grandparents became gravely ill, forcing him to take a few days off.

He told his instructors he would be absent for a skills exam and tried to arrange a makeup, Perrino claims in documents filed June 15 in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Instead, he says, the school failed him in the course - part of a fast-track master's program.

Filing academic grievances and appealing to the Columbia provost got him nowhere, he said, and he was withdrawn from the School of Nursing.

"It's insane," Perrino said. "It's not like I killed someone."

Perrino is asking a judge to remove the "F" from his transcript, reinstate him at the school and reimburse tuition costs for classes he has already taken.

I would lambast Nicholas Perrino for this, but honestly, what do you expect? You can't use liberal propaganda day in and day out, brainwashing students with "multiculturalism" and "tolerance" seminars and have an overall nanny state without a good number of students actually swallowing the liberalism and eventually, having it come back to bite you in the you-know-where.

Although, just for fun, let's talk about Perrino. He not only wanted the F removed, but he wants to be reimbursed tuition costs and be reinstated?! Good Lord. Yet he's moaning, "I should have gone to Yale!" Oh, you poor little Ivy League kid! You know, getting an F sucks and all, but if you had time to notify your professors before you missed a few days, then couldn't you have done the work before you left, and not after? And he was on a fast-track program, so that means, well, missing a few days can be monumental, which I'm sure he knew.

It was a choice he had to make, an admittedly tough one: visit my ailing grandparents (this is assuming he is being 100% truthful, mind you), or potentially fail. Thing is, a professor does not have to honor you if you miss class if you took the time to notify him and didn't do the work in advance. It's a risk you take. Sometimes, it is school policy (I discovered that one myself once) and you have to go see higher powers, which, I know, he said he did. But all the same -- miss class, risk suffering the consequences, even if there is a very good reason for you to be absent. It's the chance you take and a choice he made.

He has to now deal with the consequences of the choice he made, something liberals simply do not understand.

And the far-reaching effects? Will this make college professors a little bit more nervous to hand out Fs for fear that a disgruntled student will sue? Who knows? But that doesn't matter to Perrino.

He's following his dreams!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Cassy -

Interesting commentary. I'm actually the student who filed suit against the University's School of Nursing. Let me file you in on what the NY Post failed to reveal:

I did in fact inform the instructor of the clinical course in advance of my family emergency (5-6 days in advance...as soon as I knew why and when I would need to be out of town). Originally there was some confusion as to why I would not be present for the skills exam, however, after further clarification and discussions with the program director, it was agreed upon that a) I had a serious family emergency and that the precedent at the school was to allow students excused absenses due to these rare and infrequent situations and b) that a make-up skills test and date would be arranged for me. The testing could NOT have been done ahead of time. Yes, missing a class during an accelerated program is a big deal...but this was essentially a practical lab-based exam...it takes less than 30 minutes.

Such arrangements were verified via an email from the program director within a few days of my return to New York City. However, the school never followed through with its word and decided to simply fail me in the course nine days later...essentially stating that I did not complete the skills test.

Moreover, another student in the class failed at least one part of the skills test. As per the course syllabus, she was allowed to re-take the appropriate testing. This took place the next week. The school could have easily informed me of this date and had me perform the skills at that time. In my estimation, the six skills on the exam would have taken one student approximately 20-25 minutes to perform. The preparatory set-up is also minimal and I even offered to set up myself because of the inconvenience.

I attempted to appeal this decision to fail me in the course via a procedure known as an Academic Grievance. I was told in the summer of 2006 (immediately after being informed of this grade) that assembling such a faculty panel for a grievance proceeding was not possible in the summer--this is a direct violation of student policy at the university. All students are entitled to having a grievance hearing within 5-10 days of request. I later submitted another formal Academic Grievance via email (which was deamed an appropriate route)...but the school essentially ignored it.

Any student who receives an "F" in a clinical course at Columbia University School of Nursing must be reviewed by the Committee on Admissions. This committee is supposed to review the entire academic record of the student, the circumstances behind the poor grade, and determine if the student should be allowed to re-take the course the following year. For some unknown and unexplained reason, this committee decided I should NOT be allowed to re-attempt this course.

My GPA at the School of Nursing was 3.7. My GPA at the School of Public Health (where I was a dual degree student) was around 3.9.

I appealed these decisions to the dean of the school and then to the provost/president of the University...both of which upheld such decisions.

The skills test of the clinical course itself wasn't even graded. I was essentially prevented from continuing on into the graded part of the course. This suggests per the student handbook that I should have been given an INC (incomplete) rather than an "F" since I didn't actually fail any of the graded material.

And lastly, had I known that my family emergency wouldn't be deemed excusable (like everyone elses at the school in the past had been) and then unexcusable, and had I known that the school would lie about making "arrangements" for a make-up test for me and simply fail me instead...I would have withdrawn from the course. This would have given me a "W" on my transcript instead of an "F", and it wouldn't have counted against my graduate GPA. In that case, since I wouldn't have received an "F", the Committe on Admissions wouldn't have to review my standing at the school and would not have been able to dismiss me for any reason.

I just want to finish my program and become a nurse practitioner at the school where a) I began and already obtained my nursing degree and b) where I have almost 50% of the MS course requirements completed.

As far as the tuition, I feel I should be reimbursed the cost of that course as I never received credit for it. One must consider also that had this problem never occurred, I would have already finished my master's program...I have since lost a year of study.