Paul L. Caron
Dean



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rising 2L Sues Harvard Law School, Demands Lower Tuition For 'Inferior' Online Classes

Following up on my previous posts:

Karen Sloan (Law.com), 'Subpar in Every Aspect': Harvard Law Student Sues Over Online Classes:

A Harvard Law student has filed a class action against the university, arguing that students should be charged a lower tuition for online classes on the grounds that they are inferior to in-person instruction.

Harvard is the latest target in a wave of litigation focused on college and university tuition reimbursements amid the COVID-19 pandemic—at least 100 campuses have been sued thus far. Plaintiffs firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, which is representing incoming second-year law student Abraham Barkhordar, has also filed suit against 13 other universities.

Barkhordar’s complaint, which seeks to represent all Harvard students and not just those who attend the law school, takes issue not only with the fact that students were not issued tuition refunds last spring when classes shifted online, but also that the law school plans to keep tuition at the same level of $65,875 even though the fall semester will be entirely remote.

“While Plaintiff’s coursework requires group projects and collaboration, such teamwork is now significantly harder to orchestrate,” reads the complaint, filed June 22 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. “Plaintiff has also been unable to connect with professors and classmates on the same level online as he had in-person and is similarly lacking the intellectual stimulation of the in-person learning environment.”

According to the complaint, Barkhordar’s online courses in the spring were less rigorous than in-person classes and he had less interaction with his professors, whose expectations of students were lower.

ABC News Exclusive: Harvard Law Student Sues University Over Tuition Prices as Classes Remain Online

"I decided to sue Harvard because while they did make some effort ... the first semester we were online to mitigate things, they just have not lowered tuition," Abraham Barkhordar, 23, told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

"They've actually suggested that to mitigate the difficulties of online learning that we rent office space as students," said Barkhordar. "I just felt overall disrespected and unheard by the administration. And I think, as I've learned this year, the way to get justice in America is through the legal system." ...

"This is one of the oldest, most prestigious law schools in the world," Barkhordar said. "And that they're hanging their students out to dry -- and that they're suggesting us to rent office space with our own money -- is frankly ridiculous. And I'm glad the justice system gives me an opportunity to stand against it." ...

"Plaintiff and Class Members did not intend to attend an online educational institution, but instead enrolled in Defendant's institution on an in-person basis," the class action lawsuit complaint says, referring to Harvard University as the defendant. "The online learning option Defendant offers is subpar in practically every aspect. The remote learning option is in no way the equivalent of the in-person education putative Class Members were promised when they committed to attend Harvard."

Above the Law, Harvard Law School Student Sues Over ‘Outrageous Tuition’ For Online Classes:

Asking students to pay $65,875 to go to law school online is absurd.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2020/06/rising-2l-sues-harvard-law-school-demands-lower-tuition-for-inferior-online-classes.html

Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink

Comments

I agree with this article. Hosting all classes online should come with savings on energy costs not incurred in campus buildings, janitorial services, salaries, etc.

Posted by: Website.ws | Jun 24, 2020 3:39:22 PM

Not gonna lie: I’d be more careful about hiring any student with a semester’s worth of pass/fail credits and a semester or entire year’s worth of Phoenix University online class equivalents.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 26, 2020 12:56:35 AM