ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Student Contracts not Contract Students


I am not sure this is a contracts issue but having taught contracts for 30+ years, I tend to see all things in contract terms. And, after recently reading about the student who sued his teacher for some sort of mix up in the syllabus, I am not  sure that is wrong.

Here is the problem: Suppose a student lands on academic probation after the first year during which he is assigned to one slate of teachers. The school has a curve but no requirements with respect to distributions. Some teachers give lots of As and Cs or Ds. Others give scores of Bs and no As or Ds. The student placed  on probation gets a couple of professors who give Ds. It is pretty clear that had he been assigned to another section, in which the lowest grade given is a C, there would be no probation.

Aside from any administrative law types of issues, is there a contracts issue with respect to some kind of implied term in the contract between the school and the students. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. What is the nature of the contract between students and their schools? Does that contract have any terms that govern grading aside from what might be found in a student handbook?

By the way, on a different topic and if anyone is interested (hopefully not), I posted the draft of my article Copyright as Contract on ssrn.

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