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Jobless Grad Won't Win Her Lawsuit, But She Has A Point

Monroe College faces a $70,000 lawsuit from alumna Trina ThompsonSo, the story goes like this: woman applies to a college, gets accepted, gets a degree, can't find a job, sues the college. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Well, let's start filling in some more facts. The cost of that degree to Trina Thompson was $70,000 and several years of her life. She got a Bachelor's in IT Business Administration, not exactly on par with the classic jobless degrees like Philosophy or Comparative Literature. The college, Monroe College, is a private for-profit school whose entire raison d'être is to get their graduates jobs - check out their entirely job-oriented mission statement (and their exclusively career-related degree programs).

Monroe's website is rife with passages like "At Monroe, we offer degrees in a variety of majors leading to tomorrow's best careers."[1] and "Monroe is the choice for motivated students who wish to pursue their specific career studies in a highly professional educational environment."[2] and "The Office [of Registrar] will constantly seek to provide quality customer service to students, alumni, faculty, staff and other constituents of the College."[3]

Monroe doesn't even pretend that they produce "critical thinkers" or "well-informed citizens" or even "lifelong learners," which are conveniently vague and largely unmeasurable outcomes. Their sole focus just so happens to be very quantifiable: put $70,000 in, and a good job comes out. When colleges and universities treat education as a product, and students as customers, should we be at all surprised when someone dares to return defective "goods"? 

While I'm not a lawyer, I'm pretty certain Thompson's claim hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of winning. But this lawsuit is not just a statement on the deteriorating condition of higher ed generally: it speaks to the lies of the education commodifiers, who are all too-willing to treat their schools like supermarkets when it is convenient for them (determining workloads and salaries of faculty & administrators, expenses for students, department funding, athletics policies, etc.), but are never willing to take their ridiculous metaphors to their natural conclusions.

Comments

huh

i'm currently working at a private, for-profit college. this is the type of thing that makes my soul cringe. it's also the reason these types of colleges need full-time, decently paid, tenure track faculty, not adjuncts who are only paid the time they spend teaching--thus putting even less of an emphasis on the actual education that goes on by devaluing lesson planning, feedback, and general good assessment and pedagogical techniques.

~court

Trina Thompson is an idiot, quite frankly.

I understand times are tough, but the point of college is to work hard, sweat, mature, and become an adult. You push yourself to work so you can have options and a better quality of life ten years down the road. No one said it was easy. Ms. Thompson seems to think that having a 2.7 GPA and a "perfect attendance record" will get her a job. I don't mean to sound condescending, but if I hadn't known this was a real thing, with real suffering people, I would have laughed for a minute. Employers throw applications under 2.5 into the trash immediately. Then they compare you with students that have every GPA up to 4.0. Then they factor in extra activities, honors, organizations, internships, and finally your resume. Ms. Thompson's application with a 2.7 and a flawless attendance (that's a given requirement for college, period) record don't stand a chance against other prospective employees with better GPA's and better portfolios. I think this girl has to give up her narcissistic sense of entitlement.

Also, Monroe College is not a great school! Employers want the best, especially now with this economy. A 2.7 at Monroe is like a 2.0 at CUNY and a 1.6 at NYU (ballpark). When you go to a school that is a step higher than a community college at least work your butt off. There is no excuse why she couldn't have had at least a couple internships either. Things aren't handed to you, you have to go get them, and sometimes bother the offices until you get what you want. There is seriously something wrong with Ms. Thompson.

so much angst. so much anger.

so much angst. so much anger. why so unhappy with ms. thompson I wonder...