A former Pennsylvania State University professor claims she was fired for failing students in her nursing class, a civil lawsuit claims.

Elizabeth Barry, a former nursing instructor at Penn State's Fayette campus, did not have her contract renewed at the end of the spring 2008 semester, according to court documents filed on Aug. 17 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Barry claims the non-renewal is because 19 of the 52 students in her psychiatric nursing class failed their final exam.

Named in the lawsuit were Nursing School Dean Paula Milone-Nuzzo, Assistant Dean Raymonde Brown and Penn State Fayette Chancellor Emmanuel Osagie, court documents show.

Barry claims Milone-Nuzzo and Brown threatened her contract renewal after she refused to change her grading policies. Nine of the 19 students who failed had their grade changed, the complaint alleges.

"There was no reason given for the non-renewal," the lawsuit reads. "The non-renewal was the equivalent of a termination."

Joseph Chivers, Barry's attorney, declined to comment on Friday when contacted by FOXNews.com. According to the lawsuit, Chivers claims the non-renewal violated the Civil Rights Act of 1871 and the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act.

A spokeswoman for Penn State said the university will contest Barry's claims.

"Penn State fully intends to defend itself against the claims brought by Elizabeth Barry," spokeswoman Annemarie Mountz told FOXNews.com. "A formal response to her complaint will be filed"

As of Friday, Barry's profile was still active on Penn State Fayette's Web site.