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NYU Dental School Sued in Quota Claim

By Andrea Swalec | October 15, 2012 4:13pm
 NYU's College of Dentistry is located at 345 E. 24th St. in Manhattan.
NYU's College of Dentistry is located at 345 E. 24th St. in Manhattan.
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Wikimedia Commons/Jim Henderson

MANHATTAN — A former student at NYU's College of Dentistry was denied her diploma because she fell short of the $20,000 in dental procedures she says she was required to perform while attending the school, according to a lawsuit.

The ex-student, Katie Kickertz, said the university told her on her graduation day in May 2009 that she missed the target dollar amount of completed dental work by about $2,000, according to court documents.

Manhattan's appellate court ruled in Kickertz' favor Thursday, overturning a lower court finding in favor of NYU.

The court determined that NYU must grant Kickertz her bachelors and dental school degrees, as it would be unfair to leave Kickertz with "no degree of any kind after seven years of educational toil and the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars," according to the ruling.

Kickertz told the New York Post that when she was told of the $2,000 shortfall, faculty advisers urged her to make up the difference. After she made a credit card payment, school officials canceled the payment, calling it an ethical breach.

NYU, which is planning to challenge the decision issued Thursday, argues that Kickertz was expelled because she violated school policies.

“The matter boils down to this: a student altered patient records to suggest she had performed required procedures when, in fact, she had not; such actions are incompatible with our standards for conferring a DDS degree," NYU spokesman John Beckman said in a statement.

Beckman denied the existence of a quota system for dental students. While the College of Dentistry has previously assigned dollar values to dental services performed, he said, the practice was a "mechanism [to] give students some experience related to the business aspects of running a dental practice."

"There were never any revenue expectations for the students," he said.

Kickertz, who is now 28, was licensed as a dentist in Illinois this week after attending Illinois University, the Post reported.