The Lawsuit Against Liberty University And Other College Refund Concerns

Quinn: It’s Quinn and Cantara PYX 106. 1-800-law1010. Everybody, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti on the phone.

Cantara: You guys all opened up yet, Paul? Or are you guys still playing it safe?

Paul: We’re still sticking to the rules of our Governor and we are not essential. We are open but working from home.

Cantara: All right. Perfect. So, I saw this lawsuit. I’m gonna try to bring it full circle to what people are going through right now and the pandemic. But there’s a lawsuit, I think it’s a civil…well, you can tell me. A class-action suit, but students are upset with Liberty University saying they’re profiting from the pandemic because they reduced campus services and classes but they’re still charging you. And they want their money back.

Paul: Yeah, we’re seeing this around the country but what’s unique about Liberty, Liberty never closed. They said, “Hey, we’re just staying open and yeah, we’re gonna limit some services, therefore we’re not doing refunds for room and board.” Now, there’s about 8 or 10, some other universities, University of Arizona and some other schools that are maintaining some semblance of being open, and therefore taking a similar position. But slowly what’s happening and even happened here, Marist University yesterday decided they were gonna refund room and board. Initially, they said no. University of Vermont said, “Well, we’ll give you something back.” They still have not changed their position. So, you’ve got these students paying their room and board, told to go home, and lawsuits are being filed.

Quinn: Yeah, I’m reading if you wanna stay at school but move off-campus for the semester, they’ll give you 1,000 bucks and that’s it.

Paul: Yeah, so, you know, the uniqueness here is Liberty University and you look at this, and you know, there’s a political overtone, of course. You know, they’re saying, you know, that Trump wants to open things back up and is Liberty kind of [inaudible 00:01:54] to that and opening back up. And you know, the reality of it is they’ve had no outbreaks on campus. You got some people who have nowhere to go. I mean, they kinda were pretty clear on that. They thought there were people from around the world. They couldn’t go home so they kept it open. The question is do you give a kid…you know, once this thing became known and everyone started running. Just take the portion of the days that were remaining and return that money to the students.

Cantara: On a much smaller scale, like the classes that I have some of my kids enrolled in, like drama classes and stuff like that, which obviously can’t go on. They’re offering online versions of those classes and I don’t wanna pull my money from…

Quinn: Are they passing them off for the same price, too?

Cantara: Yeah, well, that’s the thing, Paul. Is it okay to just bail and say, “Hey, I want my…you know, I want the money for those eight classes. I wanna help out your local business, I do but…”

Quinn: Right. You gotta save money and spend it on stuff, too.

Cantara: An online drama class at home is far cry from the six hours she should be spending on a Saturday. Can I legally take my money back?

Paul: You can. You know, right now you’re in a situation where these things are gonna be all individually driven but if you’re having a drama class and the drama class, you make the argument, has so much to do with the interaction with the other students, the teacher, the process. And home, especially with younger kids, you know, try getting them glued up, unless it’s a movie, you know, paying attention to someone saying something to them online is just not [inaudible 00:03:20].

Quinn: Cantara’s got the jazz hands and the acting and the stage talent. He can be that at home drama teacher.

Paul: Yep, you’re right.

Cantara: I do feel bad because the young actors guild is on the RPI campus and the campus is still charging them rent. You know what I mean? So we told them to keep the money for next season but…

Quinn: Oh, they’re not too big to fail?

Cantara: It’s just… Unfortunately, they’re not too big to fail. Locally, Paul, do we know what’s happening with like, you know, any of the universities around here?

Paul: Yeah, they are doing what I said. They’re kinda taking this proportional piece college, etc. And everyone seems okay with it. You know, you were there until, you know, February 28th and then from that point forward, they’re doing refunds. Some are actually doing full refunds for the semester for room and board. And again, they’re keeping the tuition money because they’re going online, you know, these are 20-year-old plus students who can do that. Missed the experience? Absolutely. Senior year on college campus? My gosh, right? That was special times.

Quinn: Yeah, Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Jack Daniels. Gotta get there and rip it up senior year. They party at that school, don’t they?

Paul: I don’t know.

Cantara: Did you see the photographers making like yard signs if you’re a graduate? So, if your kid can’t graduate this year, you put a giant yard sign like a…you know? It’s kinda cute.

Quinn: Genius. We find ways to make money and products and move goods. I love this country for that.

Cantara: That’s a lot of good information, Paul. We appreciate all your help this morning.

Quinn: 1-800…

Paul: You’re welcome.

Quinn: …law1010, Stay safe and we’ll talk to you again next week, buddy.

Paul: Talk to you next week, guys. You too.

Cantara: See you, Paul.

Quinn: Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.