College students at over 25 different universities across the country have filed lawsuits against their schools, claiming that online courses currently being used as alternatives to in-person lectures due to the coronavirus are not satisfactory, as reported by ABC News.
The lawsuits claim that the students involved should not be paying the full price of tuition for these online courses, hosted through video conference applications such as Zoom, since they do not offer the full experience of an in-person lecture. Thus, the lawsuits are seeking either partial or total refunds of tuition costs for the semesters that have been affected by the outbreak and shutdown.
There are currently 26 schools that have been sued in some capacity over these changes, including Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Michigan State University, Purdue University, and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The range of complaints by students vary, with some simply claiming that they are not getting “the same experience,” and others claiming negligence by professors who are simply uploading online assignments without any video lectures to accompany them.
University officials, including the University of Colorado’s Ken McConnellogue, have dismissed the suits as unwarranted, and the result of “opportunistic” law firms seeking to profit off of the students’ desperation. Michigan State spokeswoman Emily Guerrant says that the university has “maintained our commitment to providing meaningful and robust learning experiences,” even in the midst of the pandemic.