Students from Columbia and Pace Sue for Housing and Tuition
It is not really news to suggest that the coronavirus is currently wreaking havoc around the globe and people from all walks of life are sharing in the suffering. However, it is still amazing just how many different segments of society are feeling the sting. Unable to work, a lot of college students are definitely feeling the burdens of Covid-19. While school is no longer in session, and the majority of working college students are employed in nonessential fields, colleges are still spending this tuition money that was paid, which was supposed to include housing.
This has led to two separate class-action lawsuits filed by students in New York’s Columbia and Pace universities. According to court papers, both of these colleges cancelled their classes entirely, with some of the curriculum moving online, but the universities never made any attempt to reimburse students for their tuition costs, which are rather expensive and include the costs of housing.
One of the biggest issues is that students are not staying on campus. The schools are shut down. They are not attending the campuses to go to school, nor are they actually staying in the dorms, so they have effectively paid thousands upon thousands of dollars for nothing. These students feel as if the schools were more than happy to shut down and keep their money, without even one thought given to reimbursing students who cannot afford to live elsewhere.
This means most students are having to go back home to their parents’ houses, or they simply will not have a place to live. Of course, many of these students live far away from the university campuses, with some not even living in America and only here to go to school. So they need this money back if they’re expected to live. The colleges seemed to turn a blind eye to these student struggles for months, ignoring the pleas for reimbursement. Fed up, two class-action lawsuits were filed at Columbia and Pace respectively.
What is becoming clear is that universities, especially those with large endowments, seem to be acting incredibly greedy during these times. Of the stimulus money given out by the federal government, Harvard is receiving millions upon millions of dollars, even though they have an endowment of $40 billion. Harvard scoffs at the idea of returning that money. So many of these universities are exposing something very scary during these times, in that they seem more concerned about making a profit during the virus pandemic over helping their students or their nation. The implications here are insanely large moving forward. Some universities might be irreparably damaging their reputations.
A Potential Ripple Effect
In all likelihood, the virus pandemic will be a thing of the past before these class-action lawsuits ever reach fruition; though what’s more damaging for colleges, other than perhaps losing these cases, is the ripple effect this could have. After all, it’s not simply Columbia and Pace colleges treating students this way. It is practically every university with a private endowment. There aren’t many, if any, news stories about colleges refusing their profits and returning money to students. Every story seems to be the same: College gladly accepts federal taxpayer money to increase profits. This is troubling beyond an opinion sense and is quite damaging in a fiscal sense.
Universities used to be seen as houses of higher education, where young adults learned necessary life skills to help them make it in a society by becoming well-rounded, intelligent, successful individuals. For over a decade now, colleges have been artificially padding their coffers by inventing nonsensical courses in the “studies” realm and social sciences that show no evidence of paying off. So for a long time now colleges have been looked at with more suspicion. For many people, these suspicions have been confirmed with the virus pandemic. Colleges, in the opinions of millions, are nothing but greedy capitalist organizations using young adults as a tool for financial success, selling students a false bill of goods and doing them harm by luring them into massive debt just so the school officials can thrive in the world as millionaires.
The worst nightmare of the private university industry would be for students to unionize against them and start filing class-action lawsuits. Assuming America’s civil courts hold to a standard of objectivity, the students would theoretically win every case, and some universities could go bankrupt and create a huge domino effect.
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