Her attorney, Richard Orloski, argued that Eckhardt targeted Thode because she is an outspoken advocate for gay marriage.
Eckhardt testified that while she believes marriage is between a man and a woman, she would never allow her personal views to influence her treatment of students. She said Thode had outbursts in class, did not participate appropriately, was emotionally unstable and failed to heed a warning letter.
Stephen Thode, the plaintiff's father and a longtime finance professor at Lehigh, testified on his daughter's behalf and said her participation score was highly irregular.
“I have never heard of a case, not just at Lehigh, where a student achieved a zero in class participation where they attended and participated in every class,” he said.
Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano is presiding over the nonjury trial and is expected to rule on Thode's lawsuit after testimony concludes.