Some top dental students have been dismissed from their training program and are now suing Meharry Medical College.
The five students, who include class officers, said Thursday the school was retaliating against them for exposing serious problems, including the changing of grades.
Meharry claims the five broke the rules by hacking into a computer database.
The students were waiting for a meeting with Meharry's president to appeal their dismissal.
In that meeting, they were presented with documents showing what they allegedly did wrong. But the students said there was no proof.
After weeks of uncertainty, the group got the final word from the school's president - they are dismissed from dental school.
"It's heartbreaking because that's what our lives have been about the past three years is dental school," said Juan Mancera, one of the students dismissed from the school.
The five students are accused of manipulating a patient scheduling database called Axium, logging in as faculty or other students, and switching or deleting rotations.
The group strongly denied that. They said Axium is widely known to be flawed.
They said they're really being kicked out because of plans to expose problems to CODA, the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
"It was just the perfect opportunity to put this Axium issue on a student and get rid of a group and to get rid of a thorn in your side," said Sabrina Ellis, one of the dismissed students.
The students are suing Meharry and the dean of the dental school. Among their claims are defamation, saying school administrators spread rumors accusing them of wrongdoing, and breach of contract.
"We've done nothing wrong, so we are supposed to get and earn a D.D.S. come May of 2014," said Mancera. "That is what they are contractually obligated to provide each and every one of us if we hold up our end of the bargain."
In their dismissal letter, students learned they could possibly be readmitted in 2015 if they complete 100 hours of community service and take an ethics course.
But the group said that's basically a plea deal and admitting guilt.
They hope a judge will grant an injunction allowing them to return to school.
"Right now, for the lack of better words, Meharry is corrupt and if we leave it in their hands, nothing is going to change," said Ellis.
Meharry Medical College had no comment when contacted.
The students' attorney tells me they are seeking monetary damages, but how much depends on whether or not they are allowed back in school.
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