The University of Pennsylvania should refund tuition, fees and other costs to students who have been deprived of the on-campus life and academic experience for which they’ve paid due to the COVID-19 crisis, a proposed class action lawsuit says.
The 17-page complaint asserts that while closing campus was the right thing to do given the novel coronavirus pandemic, the online learning environment to which students have had to adapt is “not commensurate with the same classes being taught in person.” According to the complaint, not all University of Pennsylvania classes are being taught in a live setting and streamed online. Rather, some professors have taken to uploading pre-recorded classes that leave students with no opportunity for interaction, the case says, whereas others are “simply uploading reading and other assignments with no video lectures at all.”
In addition to its shift to online learning, the defendant, which asked students to vacate their dorms by March 17, has either reduced or eliminated most on-campus operations while the pandemic rolls on, the suit continues. The plaintiff argues that as a result, proposed class members have not received the benefit of the services, facilities and opportunities for which their tuition and fees were paid.
Further, the plaintiff contests that the value of any degrees earned on the merits of online pass/fail classes “will be diminished” for the rest of students’ lives.
To date, the University of Pennsylvania has either refused to reimburse tuition, fees and other costs for services the school is no longer providing or has offered “inadequate and/or arbitrary” compensation that falls short of fully paying back proposed class members for the shortened Spring 2020 semester.
The lawsuit looks to cover those who paid tuition and/or fees for or on behalf of students enrolled in classes at the University of Pennsylvania for the Spring 2020 semester “who paid for but were denied live in-person instruction and forced to use online distance learning platforms for the latter portion of that semester.”
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.