Jun Yu v. Idaho State University – Case Summary

Imagine if your past 5 years of hard work were suddenly robbed from you…if your entire career and future were abruptly ruined. That’s what happened to Jun Yu.

Jun filed a lawsuit against Idaho State University in Sept 2015 in US Federal Court (see all public documents here). The case has been reported in Inside Higher Ed, the Idaho State Journal (in 2015, 2016, March 1, 2019 and March 6, 2019), the Bengal and AsAm News (in 2016, 2017 and 2018).

The Federal Court case had a bench trial in February 2019 that is still awaiting a verdict on the count of discrimination; in the process of discovery, the school was ordered by the court to hand over student documents that revealed Jun was treated unfavorably in a number of areas compared to other students (see table below).Jun Yu v Idaho State University

Another lawsuit filed by Jun with 17 counts against ISU — covering denial of due process, breach of contract and promissory estoppel — is in Idaho State court.

The cases could impact students and the psychology profession.

While ISU had no expert witnesses supporting it at trial, leading experts in psychology support Jun’s case as expert witnessesas reported by AsAm News:

According to Dr. Gerald Koocher, past American Psychological Association (APA) President and past chair of the APA Ethics Committee,  “the CTC [Clinical Training Committee] was very familiar with Jun Yu’s English language skills and continuously rated these as meeting expectations with limited exceptions.”…

Dr. Koocher, along with Dr. Shannon Chavez-Korell, an expert in cultural competency, and Dr. Leslie Zorwick, an expert in prejudice and aversive racism, all concluded that ISU violated standards in professional psychology and academic norms. They cited the school’s actions as part of a pattern of unethical, incompetent and discriminatory behavior by the program. [emphasis added]

Jun worked hard for 5 years as a clinical psychology PhD student at Idaho State University (ISU). He had successfully defended his PhD dissertation. He had a 3.69 GPA, earning satisfactory grades in all required coursework. He was in good standing and not on any form of academic probation.

On May 3, 2013, ISU abruptly dismissed Jun from the clinical psychology PhD program without any warning or remediation. As AsAm News reported:

The school’s official reasoning for terminating Yu’s doctorate was “unsatisfactory progress.” However, as Dr. Chavez-Korell noted–“The assigned grades and formal evaluations across semesters are inconsistent with unsatisfactory progress.”

Even if Yu’s performance and progress was “unsatisfactory” the school clearly failed to provide him basic due process.

Dr. Koocher reported, “If the allegations made by the ISU faculty are to be believed, they clearly failed to perform appropriate timely assessments; provide timely feedback; propose and assist with necessary remediation; or provide timely monitoring of off-site placements.” and, ” “No evidence is provided to show that Mr. Yu was on notice regarding a risk of dismissal from the program for any reason.”

The university also denied him the PhD he rightfully earned, as if all the hard work he did for the past 5 years was for nothing.

To add injury to insult, Jun is still making monthly payments on the student loans he took out for his education.

Universities are supposed to facilitate students’ careers, yet ISU wrongfully destroyed Jun’s future and seriously damaged his life.

That’s not right.

Jun’s experts in ethics, cultural competence, and aversive racism have all concluded that ISU’s actions towards him were “a substantial departure from accepted academic norms.”

The testimony of Jun’s experts at trial is significant. It is the rare case where a plaintiff presented expert witnesses who belong to faculties to conclude that an academic institution behaved in an arbitrary and capricious manner that was a substantial departure from accepted academic norms. See Regents of University of Michigan v. Ewing, 106 S.Ct. 507, 474 U.S. 214 (U.S.Mich., 1985).

To learn more about the case in detail, visit the Jun Yu v. Idaho State University case fact sheet or peruse the Jun Yu v. Idaho State University public documents filed in the Federal Court case.