Union County College student sues professor for allegedly failing her for being Muslim

Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

A female student filed a lawsuit against Union County College, alleging her professor failed her for being a Muslim.

The lawsuit said Sahna ElBanna took a business course taught by Toby Grodner in spring 2016, where the professor often made disparaging remarks about Muslims. Grodner allegedly stated that all Muslims were terrorists, the Associated Press reported. ElBanna never reported Grodner for those comments and ultimately earned a B-plus in the class.

The following fall semester, ElBanna had to register into another one of Grodner's classes, Principles of Marketing, in order to graduate. Throughout the semester, Grodner allegedly made numerous anti-Muslim comments. When ElBanna asked Grodner to stop the xenophobic comments, the professor became defensive and retaliated with invasive questions about the student's Muslim beliefs, according to the AP.

"Doesn't your religion believe men are superior to women?" Grodner asked ElBanna, according to the lawsuit. "Do you even pray five times a day?"

The lawsuit said ElBanna found out that she received an F in her fall semester course with Grodner despite earning an A on the midterm and final, which were 60% of her grade. Grodner confirmed in the suit the student did, in fact, earn As in her midterm and final, but said she received an F for several multimedia assignments

In order for ElBanna to appeal her grade, Union County requires the professor to sign the appeal form. Grodner refused to sign ElBanna's appeal form twice, the lawsuit said. The college dean also reportedly didn't intervene in ElBanna's case since she didn't receive Grodner's signature. 

Union County College spokesman Bernard Lenihan told the Associated Press the college is currently investigating a complaint ElBanna filed against Grodner. He also declined to comment on the pending lawsuit. 

ElBanna — who passed every single one of her other classes — might have her graduation delayed due to her fall course with Grodner. She would also have to pay to retake the course. 

Grodner did not respond to Mic's request for comment.

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Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

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