COLLEGE

Tina Varlesi Claims WSU, Salvation Army Discriminated Against Her For Being Pregnant And Unwed

12/08/2010 01:08 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A former Wayne State University student is suing the school for allegedly dismissing her from a social work graduate program because she was pregnant and unwed, reports the Detroit News.

Tina Varlesi has also filed against the Salvation Army for wrongfully terminating her internship, which was required for her degree. According to Varlesi, both the school and the charitable organization had been discriminating against her for months -- she stated that WSU instructed her to "wear baggy clothes" while at the Salvation Army and referred to her as a "beached whale."

Varlesi was asked to leave the program despite her impressive 3.96 GPA. She was told by her internship supervisor that she had failed 53 of 54 "internship categories" -- and was ignored by WSU's Office of Equal Opportunity when she tried to contest the expulsion.

Varlesi's attorney Deborah Gordon argues that WSU and the Salvation Army violated Title IX, which bars federally funded institutions from discrimination. Gordon told the Detroit News that "Wayne violated the law by allowing her pregnancy to become a factor in how she was treated and graded," adding, "Our client was a very good student. She should've been allowed to complete the program, get her degree and move on with her life."

Not only has Varlesi been denied the degree she was working towards, but she has not been able to gain admission at other institutions because of her tainted transcript.

WSU made headlines last week when it pulled its Helen Thomas Diversity award.

At this point, WSU and the Salvation Army have not issued any statements.

What do you think of how Varlesi was treated? Let us know in the comments section.

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