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Sonography grads sue LSC over lack of accreditation

Lake Superior College faces a class-action lawsuit from former students who allege their degrees are rendered less effective for them having come through an unaccredited program.

The 17 complainants each are seeking in excess of $50,000.

The students were part of the school’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, which they claim should have allowed them to pursue jobs that practice the medical procedure using ultrasound equipment to produce visual images of babies, organs, tissues or blood flow inside patients’ bodies.

The students say they were promised the school was seeking accreditation multiple times by multiple university officials. They cite quotes to that effect that appeared in news releases and a 96 percent job placement rate figure used by the school in 2005, and a 91 percent rate advertised in 2008. The onetime program director, Robert Naughton, is cited throughout the lawsuit, but a college spokesman confirmed he is no longer associated with the school.

Beyond that confirmation, the school offered no additional comment on the matter.

“It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation,” Lake Superior College spokesman Gary Kruchowski said.

Kruchowski appears in the lawsuit as having dispensed what the students call “misleading” materials touting the program’s veracity as one that “does not disadvantage its students” for not having accreditation, according to the lawsuit.

The students say in the filing that accreditation would have allowed them to bypass further clinical experience or education to take the national registry exam with their two-year associate degrees.

The lawsuit was filed in December 2013. A jury trial date has been set for Nov. 18, with a pretrial hearing Nov. 4 in State District Court in Duluth.