Student’s mother suing professor, University for $150,000

The mother of a student is suing the University and a philosophy professor for $150,000 – claiming the professor emotionally and verbally abused her daughter and lied about her academic performance.

The mother filed a complaint April 19 in D.C. Superior Court claiming that her daughter suffered “loss, detriment, injury and torture” as a result of associate professor Eric Saidel’s bullying.

She claims Saidel bullied and misguided her daughter throughout the spring of 2011 when she took a logic class as part of the School Without Walls Early College Program. After graduating with that program’s first cohort in 2011, the student is now enrolled at the University.

Saidel declined to comment on the litigation.

The complainant is also suing Saidel’s employer: the philosophy department, the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the University. University spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard declined to comment because the litigation is pending.

The daughter, who was a minor at the time of the incident, first told her mother she was “troubled” on February 24, 2011, according to the court documents.

The mother claims Saidel created an “environment of deception” for her daughter, who received an “F” for the course despite the professor’s assurances she was “performing really well.” The mother asserts that her daughter’s grade was not “consistent with her academic ability.”

The complaint accuses Saidel of seeking to “gain power and control” over the daughter by “inflicting fear tactics relative to the teacher and student relationship.”

She also alleges Saidel “ridiculed and mocked” her daughter for not studying with a tutor recommended by him, who he said would give her a “better advantage.”

The mother, who receives Medicaid benefits and has been unemployed since February 2011, was granted permission from the judge to avoid court-related fees. She is representing herself in the case.

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