Pop quiz time, folks, but don't worry. It's just one multiple-choice question.
When University of Pittsburgh student Emir Yazici recently failed a psychology course, he reacted like most undergraduates would by:
a) Shrugging ambivalently and playing video games.
b) Drowning his sorrows at a bar for a night and moving on with life.
c) Resolving to try harder academically and re-take the course.
d) Suing the instructor in an attempt to get the grade changed.
If you answered “d,” go to the head of the class, where running into Yazici won't be a risk.
Yazici filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh against Katrina Cooper D'Aquin for not giving him the passing grade he needed last semester to graduate with dual degrees in information sciences and psychology. He is seeking a better grade or $2,500 from D'Aquin so he can take another class and finally get his diploma.
“I had to do it,” Yazici, 22, of Mt. Lebanon insisted on Tuesday. “I went through the psychology department, (the school of) Arts and Sciences, Academic Affairs I think. I tried to make an appointment with the provost. Everyone kept telling me they couldn't do anything about the grade.”
Did they provide a reason as to why?
“They all said we're not able to give any kind of judgment on a teacher's grading,” Yazici said. “I told them, ‘Fine, I will be a teacher one day, and I will teach your children, and I will fail them, and you won't be able to do anything about it.' ”
Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia Beeson probably erroneously assumed that Yazici was just an egotistical, self-aggrandizing whiner. She probably mistakenly thought he had the same absurd sense of entitlement and aversion to personal responsibility as many other members of his generation who were raised to believe they are incapable of failure.
Bet she regrets not providing him with an opportunity to present his case before it entered the legal system.
D'Aquin didn't return my call on Tuesday to address the lawsuit's allegations that she “has a history of unfair grading, disrespecting men, not responding in a timely manner, along with calling off her class for so-called medical reasons which we need proof of.”
If that evidence isn't damning enough, Yazici noted that D'Aquin has received several unfavorable reviews on the website ratemyprofessor.com, where students critique instructors. That they do so anonymously only bolsters the veracity of their claims.
The lawsuit asserts that D'Aquin claimed that a paper Yazici turned in “had many spelling and grammar error (sic), which I found it hard to believe.”
Even harder to believe is that Yazici prepared this well-reasoned legal brief without any assistance whatsoever.
No wonder he can't wait to get before a judge and jury.
“I think I'm going to win,” he said confidently.
With a case this strong, how could he fail?
Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or [email protected].