Suffolk University yesterday became the latest local college to get hit with an online-learning-sucks lawsuit, by a biology major who wants some of her spring-tuition tuition back - and who, unlike her counterpart at Harvard, is not worried about her name getting out.
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Boston, Julia Durbeck and her two law firms are seeking to become lead plaintiff in a class action against Suffolk on behalf of all students who had to shift online after the school shut its campus because of Covid-19 concerns in March.
While closing campus and transitioning to online classes was the right thing for Defendant to do, this decision deprived Plaintiff and the other members of the Class from recognizing the benefits of in-person instruction, access to campus facilities, student activities, and other benefits and services in exchange for which they had already paid fees and tuition.
Durbeck, who says she was particularly affected by the lack of access to labs, says Suffolk states in its own "vision" statement that it "will be a leader in experiential [hands on] learning" and says Suffolk itself recognized the differing values of in-person and online education, at least at the graduate level, charging $1,519 per credit hour for its on-campus MBA program, and only $1,171 for similar online classes, at least before Covid-19.
In addition to a pro-rata tuition refund for herself and other students, Durbeck is demanding a similar refund of fees, plus damages and lawyers' fees.