A Boston University sophomore and her father have sued Boston University to demand they be reimbursed a chunk of her tuition because she's been forced to endure a "second-rate online substitute" since the school shut its campus in March due to Covid-19.
Of course, one does not get represented by law firms in three separate states just for one's single-semester tuition; in their complaint, filed in US District Court in Boston yesterday, Natalie and Vallauina Silulu of Boxborough are seeking to become lead plaintiffs in a class action worth more than $5 million against BU to represent as many as 40,000 people. The same three law firms also represent a Northeastern graduate student who also filed a similar complaint against his school yesterday (see the attached files below).
The complaint charges BU has managed to actually profit from coronavirus while screwing students out of both tuition that is now paying for inferior classes and the fees they paid for access to campus facilities they are now barred from.. And then there's the $15 million in federal CARE funds BU is eligible for, only half of which would have to be doled out to students with serious financial needs.
Despite failing to fulfill its obligations, Defendant is currently unlawfully retaining and refusing to fully or partially refund Plaintiffs’ Spring 2020 semester tuition and fees, despite the dramatically lower quality and less valuable education and services now being provided.
Essentially, students have paid Defendant for high-quality, in-person instruction that is no longer available to them, access to buildings they can no longer enter, technology, programs and services that Defendant is no longer providing, and activities that are no longer available. Defendant is thus profiting from COVID-19 while further burdening students and their families - many of whom have been laid off, become ill, lost loved ones, or are otherwise already bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. The result is an enormous windfall to Defendant. Both contract and equity demand that Defendant disgorge its ill-gotten funds.
The complaint adds:
The online classes Plaintiff Natalie Silulu and her peers have been provided are not equivalent to and are worse than, the in-person, campus experience that Plaintiff and other BU students chose for their university education. The tuition and fees that Defendant charged were predicated on access to and constant interaction with and feedback from peers, mentors, professors, and guest lecturers; access to technology, libraries, and laboratories; opportunities to attend or participate in spectator sports and athletic programs; access to student government and health services; and participation in extracurricular groups and learning, among other things.
Although only Natalie is a BU student, her father says he signed on as a plaintiff because he has a financial stake in the issue - has agreed to pay back her student loans for her once she graduates.
In addition to being named lead plaintiffs, the Silulus are seeking refunds on spring-semester tuition and fees, plus damages and attorney's fees.
Northeastern grad student sues school because coronavirus-spurred online education is inferior to classroom learning.