The Arizona Board of Regents, the board that oversees the three public universities in Arizona, had another lawsuit filed against them last week on Wednesday, June 17 by a student of Arizona State University.
The class action lawsuit Doemel v. The Arizona Board of Regents will demand a jury trial and is said to be on behalf of all three universities’ students who were also wronged.
The suit claims ABOR is in breach of contract for not returning mandatory funds from tuition meant to be used to support a top-notch educational experience that was not provided to students. The complaint states that the experience provided was “a materially deficient and insufficient alternative,” according to the lawsuit’s press release.
The press release also states that though the universities rightfully encouraged students to vacate campus and provided an online learning alternative in March after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they failed to adequately refund their students for housing, dining, a prorated portion of tuition and mandatory fees that students paid for that portion of the spring 2020 semester. The student seeks these returns in the suit.
“At ASU this past spring, I paid for an immersive education and a top-notch educational experience,” plaintiff Brock Doemel stated, according to the press release. “After in-person classes were cancelled, most of my classes became me reading my textbooks or watching pre-recorded videos and submitting assignments based on the readings and videos, with no interactive component. It wasn’t an environment at all conducive to learning.”
The suit is similar to one filed by many UA parents in mid-March, which also is a class-action lawsuit and demands a jury trial. That suit also seeks for refunds for fees, claiming students were unable to use resources provided by the university that they had already paid for because of COVID-19 concerns.
Students at both the University of Arizona and ASU started petitions calling for prorated tuition and refunds in housing and meal plan fees in March. The UA was the only school that gave some form of partial refunds to students in the form of housing and meal plan credits.
“Although the changes made due to COVID-19 were necessary for the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty, the Universities need to recognize that their students didn’t get the education or the experiences they paid for and issue refunds accordingly,” the plaintiff stated in the press release.
No court date has been set and ABOR has not commented on either pending lawsuit.
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