Lawsuit Alleges Professor Failed Student for Being Muslim


A student is suing a New Jersey college, claiming her professor gave her an F in a course because she is Muslim.

Sahna ElBanna alleged that she endured a spring 2016 semester of Union County College professor Toby Grodner making derogatory comments that all Muslims were terrorists, but ElBanna didn’t say anything then. She received a B-plus in that class.

ElBanna signed up for a second class with Grodner — Principals of Marketing — in the fall because she needed the course to graduate, according to her lawyer, Tariq Hussain.

The professor made more comments about Muslims, and ElBanna asked her to stop, according to the lawsuit. Grodner responded defensively and asked questions about her religion.

“Doesn’t your religion believe men are superior to women?” Grodner asked ElBanna. “Do you even pray five times a day?” the professor asked her in another instance.

Bernard Lenihan, a spokesman for the college, said it is investigating a complaint ElBanna filed against the professor.

In January, ElBanna discovered she received an F in the course despite receiving two A’s on assignments worth 60 percent of her grade, the lawsuit said. Grodner confirmed ElBanna received an A on her midterm and final, but she said she received F’s on several multimedia assignments.

ElBanna tried to appeal her grade, but college policy requires an instructor signature on the appeal form. Grodner refused twice, and the dean did not get involved because the appeal lacked Grodner’s signature.