Trina Thompson Sues Her College Because They Failed Her

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 By

I say, “Go for it.”

(Photo: Monroe College)

(Photo: Monroe College)

Trina Thompson spent $70,000 in tuition for a degree in Information Technology from Monroe College in the Bronx, New York. Now that she can’t secure a job with her advanced degree, she has taken it upon herself to sue the university and get her tuition money back.

Some would call this ridiculous, and the majority of them would most likely be those who had a successful college experience and are in some way still in connection with their own university due to alumni activities or the like. Gary Axelbank, spokesman for Monroe College and the man who says that Thompson’s lawsuit is “completely without merit,” is likely one of those people. He also probably wouldn’t know payday loans or short term loans if they bit him on the backside.

True success comes from struggle and toil

That is how America was built. The Rockefellers, Carnegies and J.P. Morgans of the world didn’t rise to prominence because of a fleeting phenomenon like a dot com boom that dumped money in their laps for no good business reason. They had to work hard to rise to prominence. On a slightly lesser scale, college graduates have to do the same thing in order to be successful. Just going to college is not a guarantee of success, as you have to make some connections and learn how to market yourself.

Marketing yourself – where schools fail us

Along with real-life skills, this is something schools should begin to teach at a much earlier age, as part of the core curriculum. Too few people understand what they have to do to stand apart from the pack. As I don’t know Trina Thompson, I can’t say how much she knew about packaging/marketing herself to employers. What I do know is that she graduated from Monroe College, and that she is unemployed. Yes, a difficult economy has played some role in that, but I think that colleges get away with too much of our money without giving equal value. A student shouldn’t have to dig around, beg and squeeze until they actually get the info they need from their universities. Considering how much of our money they’re stealing, colleges should lead with pay dirt, right up front. Instead, countless people are left in need, using payday loans and short term loans to remedy temporary financial problems. They apply for such loans here.

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Somebody needs to set a precedent. Go for it, Trina Thompson

The AP story at tells us that Thompson, a 27-year-old New York City woman, has claimed that she “can’t find a job,” so she’s suing Monroe College, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree. Let’s set aside the fact that today’s Bachelor’s degree means about as much as yesterday’s high school diploma. I believe each and every accredited college has connections in the business world. With the money given to them by students for education (more than is needed to cover costs… even small colleges are bloated with enough cash to send administrators on lavish retreats), it should be the obligation of colleges to connect their graduates with jobs.

But Monroe College has failed to do that, and Trina Thompson is suing them for $70,000, the cost of tuition. That’s a hefty sum, yet colleges continually lie to us that it’s necessary in order to pay salaries, costs, etc. I say do the work and help the students who are funding your European vacations. Thompson says that she has had particular trouble with Monroe College’s Office of Career Advancement, which she claims “hasn’t provided the leads and career advice it promises… they didn not try hard enough to help me.”

What? Economy has them sitting on their hands?

I say they should call in their favors. Live up to their obligation. Then I’ll believe places like Monroe College when they insist that they help students in career placement. Looking at my own example, I was successful in college and have achieved reasonable success in professional life thus far. There’s room for improvement, but I’m still young. I was rather shy when I was in college, so I wasn’t the first one to jump at networking opportunities. Furthermore, since my college campus was very large, I’m not sure how easily I could have found their office of Career Advancement. But if I had been given a bit of a kick start by a required professional development class, I would have appreciated it. It would have been the least they could do, considering the money I was giving them.

Here’s the point – know what you want to do and what you want BEFORE attending college

Take a brief respite after high school or junior college if you aren’t sure. But don’t stay away too long. If you have a direction and know what you need before you go to the inadequate halls that pass themselves off as institutions of higher learning, they’ll work for you. However, you have to twist their arms – most of the time – if you want them to truly DO anything for you.

Then there’s the debt

This is hitting Trina Thompson and her family right now. Her mother, Carol, said her daughter was “very angry at the situation” after putting all his faith in his college. Student loans are coming due, and Trina sought help from Monroe College but got nothing in the way of career placement.

What your local college president thinks about (Photo:

What your local college president thinks about (Photo:

Yet Axelbank continues to spout the party line: “The college is proud of the excellent support for career development that we offer each of our students, and this case does not merit further consideration.”

Will you continue to be so proud if you lose this lawsuit, Monroe College? If you haven’t delivered something promised, I don’t believe you’re entitled to the money you were paid.

And Janet Shan weighs in

Janet Shan, a blogger for Black Political Thought, may think of herself as an enlightened, professional black woman. I’d say two out of three there ain’t good enough. In her analysis of Trina Thompson’s dilemma, she leads off with a rather expected question: “Do you realize that 6.5 million workers have lost their jobs since the recession started?” Then, while she recognizes that Monroe College should be doing more, she stops short of what needs to be said and what needs to be done:

Monroe College, Miss Thompson is at the stage in her career where she needs help! While I understand the situation Miss Thompson is in, there are many others who share a similar story of unemployment, but do they sue their alma maters or previous employers? I seriously doubt that.

Do they sue? Generally, no. But they should. Colleges needs to be held accountable – America’s entire education system needs to be held accountable. I wish Trina Thompson luck in her suit, even if the deck may be stacked against her. Major change is needed in the way America prepares people to succeed in the world.

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This post has 11 comments

  1. Nic says:

    Well, she has practically destroyed any chance she ever had of landing a job. The first thing a prospective employee will do is Google her name. I doubt many graduate careers will be open to someone who comes across as sue-happy.

  2. lmlitz says:

    First of all, Monroe College is a for-profit college and not many employers will hire someone who graduates from these types of schools. And with her 2.7 GPA, that is not something to brag about. Second, That judge better tell her to have a list and proof of all the jobs she has applied for. How do we know how hard she job hunted? She obviously doesn't sound like someone who is putting her self out there in the job market.

  3. Sean says:

    I would never sue, but I think this brings up another issue. College has become big business, and all most of them care about is getting more customers (students). Most of their selling points are based around earning more income and getting better jobs. My question is why aren't colleges held accountable for the success (or lack their of) of their graduates? Possibly keep track of how many grads find jobs in their degree fields, how many have jobs that require a degree, etc.

  4. RustyShackleford says:

    Whatever the merits of her case (and it has none), she has likely destroyed her job prospects for life. Google this girl's name, and you won't find much other than news stories and discussions about this girl. When a prospective employer Googles her name, do you think they'll like what they see? Doubtful.

    Think before you sue:…

  5. Ernie Anderson says:

    It really comes down to the fact that she is black and female, which is two parts of a demographic focus. I agree that a 2.7 GPA is terrible, and laughable, Either she is a dummy or didn't care. She has no chance of winning a lawsuit because this would cause all institutions of higher learning to come under attack

  6. JennG says:

    I wonder if Ms Thompson has been living under a rock these last two years; there are people out there who have masters degrees from much more prestigious schools who are unemployed for 6+ months, let alone a bachelors degree and a 2.7gpa. In the current economic conditions, employers have the advantage of picking from the creme of the crop; if I were a hiring manager, I sure would choose to spend my time interviewing (let alone hiring) the best of the best. Also, 3 months of job hunting is not a very long period of time. I'd spent 5 months job hunting as a new graduate in 2003, when economic conditions were far more favorable. I wonder what makes her feel that she deserves a job when there are more prestigious diplomas and better gpas out there competing for the same jobs that she is applying for.

  7. askelon harriman says:

    I don't get the impression that she wielded things like a deep frying basket, spatula, wet mop, or headset and keyboard whenever she wasn't in class wielding a pen and notebook. Oh, and no counsel? Snowball in hell…

  8. qestar says:

    a solid attendance record and 2.7 grade-point average = idiot…

  9. Ming Kwan says:

    If the college oversold themselves then I can understand why Trina is angry. But there is a flaw of logic here. Now that she made headline news, would company want to hire her?

    Also, no respectable school ever guarantee a job. They can only guarantee you a degree to hang on the wall but nothing else.

  10. Joe says:

    This girl wants the tax payers money back for herself. Free ride in life when you are young promotes free rides for life. Then she will have 7 kids who also will expect free rides!

    We must stop growing the free ride segment of the United States.

  11. F.A.S. says:

    Some people would say this Trina Thompson case is ridiculous. Basically, it was almost like she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. However, many colleges label and promote themselves as the essential tool for landing the perfect job. However, there are many graduates from far more expensive schools than Monroe College that are having a very difficult time landing the job of their dreams. And yet, these colleges continue to promote themselves as providers of must-have degrees that will help graduates earn big money. Now that's what's Ridiculous! Part of me wants Trina to win this somewhat ridiculous lawsuit. If she does, maybe more colleges will put more effort to position some real action behind their talks.

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