Supreme Court sides with SNHU in lawsuit over grade changes

Nov. 2—The New Hampshire Supreme Court sided with Southern New Hampshire University in a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former associate dean.

Melissa Donovan, who taught mathematics at SNHU, said she was "compelled to quit" in part for refusing to change the failing grades for two students in a math course she taught.

The case was taken to the Supreme Court after a Hillsborough Superior Court judge also sided with SNHU.

Donovan, who resigned in November 2018, "raised good faith concerns that such modifications would be unethical and in violation of SNHU academic policy," according to court documents.

The university said the grading scheme was structured as an "all or nothing" system, which was not communicated in the course introduction or syllabus for the introduction to quantitative analysis class. The class was under review by the university because of the course design and grading.

Two students failed under the "all or nothing" grading method and appealed, according to court documents.

The main argument by Donovan's lawyer, Sean List, revolved around public policy, which "supports academic integrity, consistency and equality in grading," according to court documents.

The Supreme Court issued its decision in a six-page ruling on Wednesday.

"We conclude that the court did not err because complaints about the application of internal grading decisions by a private university do not implicate public policy considerations necessary to support a wrongful termination claim," the court wrote.