complaint regarding Respondent College’s failure to allow student complainant to graduate

February 4, 2023

Odena Greene

Your Address

City, ST ZIP Code

(347) 432-7958

odena.greene@gmail.com

 

Student Complainant

 

THE CITY COLLEGE OF NEW YORK

DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

 

ODENA GREENE,

Student Complainant,

vs.

MEDGAR EVERS COLLEGE,

Respondent College.

 

complaint regarding Respondent College’s failure to allow student complainant to graduate

 

TO THE HEAD OF THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS:

My name is Odena Greene, a student at Medgar Evers College, student number 16096572 under the Differently Abled and Military Veteran programs. I am filing this Complaint due to frustrations from faculty staff that have prevented me from graduating with my class as well as subsequent classes.

I was supposed to graduate by the end of August 2016. I began the process of clearing from the school and even obtained a graduation gown in readiness for one of the best days of my life. However, just before the graduation, I was informed that I would not be allowed to graduate. The reason was that I had not done my Math 136 exam and my Bio 101 grade was incomplete, though I had attended all my classes in those courses. I tried to resolve the two issues so I could graduate, to no avail. Later, I discovered that my grades for Math 136 and Bio 101 reflected as ‘F’. I had taken Math 136 under Dr. Abraham in Fall 2015 and got a ‘Pass’. On the day I was supposed to sit for the Math 136 exam, I spent a whole day waiting in the Disabled American Veterans differently abled department but no one came to give me the exam. The exam was the only thing remaining. I had completed all other requirements including homework, mandatory tutoring after every class session, and online homework class packages that the professor accessed and graded.

I met with the dean, Dr. Dereck Skeete, at the end of May 2016 and he gave me a written document to deliver instructions to the college bursar and the college registrar. They both accepted the document and it was filed. 

My finances were audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because the Respondent College had made some false misrepresentations. Earlier on, I had taken a student loan. My FICA score reduced multiple times because of a $2.07 charge that was added after I paid off the loan I took in 2018. Three months after paying the loan, two other 1 penny charges were added. I contacted the Nelnet Loans Processor, IRS and the Respondent College so I could get them to correct the errors they had made.

I began resolving the incompleteness of the Bio 101 grade paper by going to Dr. Hinds, the professor who taught Bio 101. I had done all my assignments but my exam had been misplaced by the Respondent College. Dr. Hinds told me that a paper would be sufficient to change the incomplete grade. Unfortunately, Dr. Hinds is no longer a professor at the Respondent College. I was ready and willing to do another Biology paper but the Respondent College declined to give me the opportunity to do so. 

I contacted the Dr. Skeete and told him about my predicament. I followed Dean Skeete’s recommendations and tried to register for classes with the Differently Abled Program. After reviewing my Degree Works information, I discovered that it was not updated correctly. I tried to access my Cuny First portal but I was unsuccessful, despite resetting my password three times.

In regard to the Math 136 exam, Dean Skeete instructed me to reach out to Dr. Blackman, the Chair of the Math department at the time, to assist me. Dr. Blackman was made aware of my situation but the Math department did not reschedule the examination and subsequently, I failed to do it.

I proceeded to speak to Mr. Robinson from the Academic Advisement. He informed me that I would not be able to register for courses under the old B.P.S. Program. I missed the Spring semester, the Summer Immersion Program Workshops and the Fall semester of 2016.

I spent the years between 2016 and 2018 going to various departments to resolve my issues and get advice on how to deal with them. In doing so, I diligently followed protocol and procedure to the latter. At times, I booked 3-4 appointments to see various administrators. In 2019, I spent the whole year solving issues created by the Respondent college outside the school. All along, I was battling debilitating symptoms as a result of those issues.

In January of 2020, I went to Respondent College only to find a new administration in place. After informing them of my issues, they were surprised to hear that nothing was done to correct the errors that were made by Respondent College. I was asked to provide proof of Respondent College’s wrongdoing, which I promptly did. The new administration realized what had been done and did not want to be involved. I was informed that the only recourse would be to pay $1,500.00 to sit for the Math 316 exam again. The administration would also indicate that I had passed Bio 101. That is unfair and outright extortion considering that I had already paid the first time and that it was errors made by the Respondent College’s staff that caused all my troubles. The only remedy would be to correct the errors enter my grade and allow me to graduate, which the Respondent College has blatantly refused to do. It is untenable that I paid off my loan without delay and that it was eliminated due to errors from staff of the Respondent College, then I’m told to pay again to sit for the Math 316 exam.

I have sought assistance from the Divisional Academic Standing Committee, Academic Advising Center, Student Government Association, Services for Differently-Abled, Dean of Students, Military Students Aid, Tutoring Center, as well as Student Behavioral Health and Students Resources but none of them has helped me come to the bottom of this matter and resolve it.

I have been through a lot, especially while serving in the military and even had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have always viewed getting my college degree as forward step in life after all I have been through. Graduating would have been one of the proudest moments of my life. I have been deprived of that joy by the Respondent College for no substantial reason. I continue to suffer an injustice because of negligence of the Respondent College staff. I have made all efforts to graduate from 2016. It is now 5 years since and I still haven’t graduated. I have missed all graduation ceremonies that have happened between 2015 and this date. The only remedy is to ensure that I graduate so I can move on with my life.

I have suffered, and continue to suffer, because I haven’t been able to graduate as a result of errors made by the staff who act as agents of the Respondent College and the Respondent College’s computerized system. I have been unable to further my education as I am still ineligible to apply for university degree programs without my college degree. Following up to resolve the issues has not been easy. It has been time-consuming, stressful and tiresome. Despite all my efforts, the Respondent College has made no effort to resolve my issued so I can graduate.

The predicament that the Respondent College put me in has caused me untold suffering. It has taken a toll on my physical and mental health. I have suffered stress, anxiety and depression because I don’t know where my future lies without my college degree. I have had to seek therapeutic counseling to help me cope. I have tried to resolve the matter informally but I have not been successful. I have no other means to obtain redress apart from the formal process outlined by the Division of Student Affairs, City College of New York. The Respondent College should show cause why I was eligible to graduate, then all of a sudden I was ineligible. The only other course for redress is filing a lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction, an avenue I am not willing to pursue at this time as I believe this matter can still be resolved. I am optimistic that the Division of Student Affairs, City College of New York, will help me in this matter. I am ready to appear in person or virtually to answer any questions or clarify anything.

Thank you for taking time to read my Complaint. I hope to receive a positive response from you as soon as possible.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

___________________________________

Odena Greene,

Student Complainant

VERIFICATION

I, Odera Green, being duly sworn depose and say that I am the Student Complainant in the above-entitled action, that I have read the foregoing Complaint Regarding Respondent College’s Failure to Allow Student Complainant to Graduate and know the contents thereof. That the same is true of my own knowledge except as to those matters and things stated upon information and belief, and as to those things, I believe them to be true.

_________________________________

(Sign in the presence of a Notary Public)

Sworn to and subscribed before me this 1st day of November, 2021.

______________________________

Notary Public

________________________________________

(Printed name of Notary Public)

My Commission Expires: ____________________

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that a true and correct copy of the foregoing document was sent on the 1st day of November, 2021 by regular U.S. mail, by facsimile, or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the following parties of record:

Jean Michelet Jean-Michel

Chairperson

Associate Professor

Department of Mathematics

Medgar Evers College

1650 Bedford Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11225

(718) 270-6431

 

Dr. Dereck Skeete

Dean

Medgar Evers College

1650 Bedford Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11225

 

Dr. Terrence Blackman

President

Department of Mathematics

Medgar Evers College

1650 Bedford Ave.

Brooklyn, NY 11225

Dated this 1st day of November, 2021.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

___________________________________

Odena Greene

Student Complainant

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