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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Atlanta, Georgia, United States

    Default Defamation of Student by a Professor

    My question involves defamation in the state of: Georgia

    My wife is a interior design student at private post secondary college in Georgia. She was taking a corporate design class consisting of 4 students and 1 professor. The class was composed of 4 assignments and she received an C on one, a B on another, and an A on the final project. After the quarter had ended, the professor sent out a email to every student in the class plus the department head. The email singled out my wife and another student stating that they both are going to receive an F in the course. My wife works very hard and has a 3.8 GPA. The university is very competitive and getting internships are cutthroat. She is worried that this will damage her reputation and her chances of getting a good internship. She has contacted the professor and protested the grade but is most upset and worried that number 1 her right to privacy of her grades were violated by including her peers and the department in the email. Also 2, that the grade was incorrect.

    What should we do?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Defamation of Student by a Professor

    "We" should not do anything. Your wife needs to take care of this.

    What grade did your wife receive on the 4th project, you only listed 3 of 4? Has the professor explained why she is receiving a failing grade? Has the failing grade been officially sent out, maybe only the other student failed? It is possible that the professor accidentally sent it to the other students, meaning only to send it to the department head, which is probably not unusual but I couldn't say for certain. I would imagine the department head has access to students' grades within their department anyway. Accidents do happen. If the teacher stands by the grade, for whatever reason, your wife would have to use whatever appeal procedure is in place at the school. If the grade stands, the most you can probably hope for is for the professor to send out some kind of email to the class members explaining the mistake. If the grade is changed, the prof should send out a corrective email to the original recipients. Has your wife spoken to the other student who failed? A united front, more than one complainant, might make the school/prof more amenable to corrective action.

    Beyond this, if your wife sues...standard EL disclaimer of these types of suits take a long time and a lot of $$$$ to litigate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Defamation of Student by a Professor

    Also, if in fact the grade received was an F, the sharing of that information is not defamatory. That's a separate issue from the possible violation of privacy laws.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Key West, FL

    Default Re: Defamation of Student by a Professor

    First, the school MUST have an administrative process to challenge something like this.

    Your wife must EXHAUST all administrative processes before any attempt to go to court.

    This is NOT defamation and she has no cause of action. She might have an argument on privacy, but I doubt it would survive in court long. I also doubt that any outcome would be worth the 30k + it would cost.

    There may be a cause of action, but a civil rights qualified attorney would need to look into it.

    I am very surprised a private school would even allow such a situation. Further, if 2 out of 4 students were failed, what does THAT say about the teacher and his methods? Nobody should do badly in a class with only 4 students. Something is seriously wrong here and she and the other student with some brains should be able to turn this entire thing around. Apparently she must have been flunked for a LACK OF IMAGINATION.

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