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Judge Orders Case Western to Grant Diploma to Medical Student


The Chronicle of Higher Education. June 5, 2014.

A federal judge in Ohio has ordered Case Western Reserve University to award a diploma to a medical student whom it had sought to expel after determining that he lacked professionalism, The Plain Dealer reports.

The student, Amir A. Al-Dabagh, had completed all of his academic requirements. The university sought to expel him after learning that he had been convicted of driving under the influence, and told him that he would be dismissed if he did not withdraw. He sued the university last month for breach of contract.

On Monday, Judge James S. Gwin, of the U.S. District Court in Cleveland, barred the university from dismissing him.

“Although courts should give almost complete deference to university judgments regarding academic issues, the same deference does not follow university character judgments, especially on character judgments only distantly related to medical education,” Judge Gwin wrote.

He found that Case Western had “arbitrarily and capriciously” denied Mr. Al-Dabagh his diploma, and ordered the university to grant it to him.

A spokeswoman for Case Western said the university was disappointed with the decision and was considering its options.