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Monday, March 19, 2012

Trendspotting: Suing the Alma Mater for Breach of Contract

Surgical TheaterRecently, as reported in the Richmond-Times Dispatch, three former John Tyler Community College (“JTCC”) students are suing the school for breach of contract, seeking compensatory and punitive damages.  The suit also names the Virginia Community College System and the Dean of Health Services at JTCC.

The students allege that because the surgical technology program from which they graduated never obtained accreditation, they are unable to find jobs.  The students claim that they joined the program with assurances that the program would be accredited before they completed their studies.  However, just weeks before they graduated, they learned that the school had not received accreditation, and as a result the students cannot sit for the state certification exam

They claim to have combed through job postings, most of which they are unable to apply for because the jobs require applicants to be certified from an accredited program.  The students maintain that potential employers have informed them that JTCC’s lack of accreditation prevented the employers from extending job offers.

According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch, JTCC’s President claims that certification is not required for work as a surgical technologist in Virginia, and that the college would not have started the program without accreditation if such a prerequisite existed.  However, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (“CAAHEP”) strongly encourages program accreditation.  According to jobs.virginia.gov, certification is generally required or strongly preferred for Surgical Technologist positions in state government. 

JTCC’s surgical technology program was shut down after one year.  JTCC’s President attributes the program’s discontinuation to lack of enrollment

[JT & Christina Phillips]

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