Because of the coronavirus pandemic, colleges and universities in the United States have been forced to close their doors for the remainder of the Spring Semester. They have made the transition from in-person classes to an online platform to protect their students while also continuing classes. It is a difficult time for all educational institutions right now, and they will continue to face challenges as the pandemic situation evolves this year. Many are hopeful that they will be opening their doors once more for the Fall Semester this year and are making preparations to keep their staff and students safe.
Many students are dissatisfied with how their classes are being handled. One Harvard Law student, Abraham Barkhordar, was so unhappy with the quality of the education he was receiving that he has filed a $5 million class action lawsuit against his university.
Barkhordar is suing Harvard for not refusing to reimburse the students their tuition. A lot of expenses go into the calculation of tuition and the case revolves around students not having access to the majority of the amenities that the university charges them for in their tuition. Barkhordar wants to get a refund for not only himself, but also his peers for the lack “in-person educational services, facilities, access and/or opportunities that Defendant has not provided.”
Barkhordar states that the move from in-person to remote learning has robbed students of many of the experiences that they are paying for with their tuition. Peer and professor interactions, laboratories, the library, and extracurricular activities are only some of the examples given that students are missing out on. He also states that the remote learning experience is so subpar to an in-person platform that the comparison is laughable. He demands that Harvard grant a reimbursement to students due to breach of contract.
It is uncertain whether Barkhordar will be successful in this legal case. While in most cases his concerns and grievances would be more than reasonable, Harvard is doing what it can to give students the most equivalent educational experience possible. It is not the university’s fault that they were forced to transition to remote learning, it was an unforeseeable tragedy of nature. We’ll see how the courts handle this, as it will set the precedence for other similar cases across the country.