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2 Students Sue Grand Valley State, Claim Gender Discrimination

ALLENDALE, Mich. —  Two students have sued Grand Valley State University, saying they were falsely convicted of academic dishonesty and discriminated against by a professor based upon their gender.

Erin Jurek and Ashley Short were found guilty of academic dishonesty last summer for allegedly using an unapproved Internet message board and collaborating on a take-home exam for a math class, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

The students’ lawyer, Scott Erskine, said the women didn’t collaborate on the test and that the university in western Michigan failed to investigate allegations against their professor. A lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

In a statement, university spokeswoman Mary Eilleen Lyon said the lawsuit is “meritless” and the school plans a vigorous defense.

“We have students who were found to have violated the academic honesty policy,” she said.

Following their convictions, both students were placed on disciplinary probation for the remainder of their time at the school in Allendale. In addition, Jurek was suspended for the fall 2013 semester. Jurek and Short are currently enrolled as students.

The students didn’t cite specific examples of how the professor allegedly discriminated against them in their lawsuit. Erskine said the students’ answers on the test were similar because they had previously studied together, not because they had collaborated on the test.

“Even though they are supposed to be afforded due process rights, an opportunity to be heard, a fair and impartial hearing, the university just rubber stamps decisions made by its professors,” Erskine said.

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