BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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A Brigham Young University student sued the private school Wednesday, claiming he didn’t get what he paid for when the campus was closed and classes were moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chase Hiatt, an undergraduate during the winter and spring 2020 semesters and who enrolled for classes this fall, claims in the federal lawsuit that the online learning options offered at BYU are “subpar” compared to the educational experience provided before classes were suspended in March.

While Hiatt is currently the only plaintiff in the case, his attorney, Michael Watton, is looking to make it a class-action suit.

“In short, plaintiffs and the members of the class have paid for tuition for a first-rate education and an on-campus, in-person educational experience, with all the appurtenant benefits offered by a first-rate university, and were provided a materially deficient and insufficient alternative, which alternative constitutes a breach of the contracts entered into by plaintiffs and the class with the university,” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

BYU priced the tuition and mandatory fees based on the in-person educational services, opportunities and experiences it was providing on campus, according to the suit. Claims in the lawsuit include breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/8/5/2 ... ne-classes
“Defendant’s practice of failing to provide reimbursements for tuition and mandatory fees despite the diminished value of the education and other experiences that it provided, and the reduced benefits associated with the fees, as alleged herein, violates generally accepted principles of business conduct,” according to the lawsuit.

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Kishkumen
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Kishkumen »

What a prick. Here we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Professors are scrambling to finish out the semester to the best of their ability, and this asshole brings a lawsuit over it. Screw that guy. Just screw him.

I mean, think of it. Here this guy gets a good deal on a solid education that many other young people would love to have the privilege of getting but can't. And this guy is suing in circumstances that are the very definition of "an act of God." It is situations like these that actually manage to make the LDS Church look sympathetic.
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Meadowchik »

It's not just against BYU. There are cases elsewhere and more will likely pop up. Maybe he is just being spiteful, but it's also possible that he feels like he'll need to retake the courses and he will need fees for that.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by moksha »

Even if what he said was true, about the on-line classes being subpar, is it right to sue the Lord's University? It is hard for BYU to fulfill its mission of being a proving ground for Mormon courtships when students are taking courses from home.
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Fortunately, the LDS church has $100,000,000,000 in the bank, so it can just settle out of court without skipping a beat.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Hrm. There seems to be a recurring theme with some students and their tuition:

https://www.courant.com/coronavirus/hc- ... story.html

"A Yale University student from Ohio has sued the Ivy League school in federal court seeking a refund of tuition from when the university went from in-person learning to online this past spring.

Jonathan Michel claims the online experience was inferior and that Yale breached its contract with him and other students and unjustly enriched itself when it did not refund tuition. His lawyers are seeking class action status so that they can represent other students."

I don't know what to think of this since I'm not in their shoes, nor that of a school's administration. It seems cheap to do this, though. It seems like privilege taken to the extreme, but again I just don't know enough about campus life to understand the value of the brick and mortar experience versus the online education someone receives.

I can say this in m limited experience - my online courses were much more engaging and thorough than the in-person classes. I had to do a lot more reading, writing, and interacting with fellow students online than in person. It was almost as if the school was overcompensating for the stigma of online learning, much to our advantage, tbh.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Temp. Admin. wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:50 am
Fortunately, the LDS church has $100,000,000,000 in the bank, so it can just settle out of court without skipping a beat.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has over $100.000.000.00 in the bank.

U stand corrected.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Kishkumen »

Meadowchik wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 7:42 am
It's not just against BYU. There are cases elsewhere and more will likely pop up. Maybe he is just being spiteful, but it's also possible that he feels like he'll need to retake the courses and he will need fees for that.
And if you have an elite private university with a huge endowment that primarily serves the wealthy and is charging $30K+ a year in tuition alone, then, OK, I suppose it is about that. BYU is not that school, even if the Church funding it is super-wealthy.

Unless I am reading this incorrectly, he signed up for the term after the pandemic had started, and he has signed up for Fall too. In other words, he could have opted out of what he perceived to be substandard class experiences, but he decided to keep on. I have very little sympathy for him.
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 9:06 am
Hrm. There seems to be a recurring theme with some students and their tuition:

https://www.courant.com/coronavirus/hc- ... story.html

"A Yale University student from Ohio has sued the Ivy League school in federal court seeking a refund of tuition from when the university went from in-person learning to online this past spring.

Jonathan Michel claims the online experience was inferior and that Yale breached its contract with him and other students and unjustly enriched itself when it did not refund tuition. His lawyers are seeking class action status so that they can represent other students."

I don't know what to think of this since I'm not in their shoes, nor that of a school's administration. It seems cheap to do this, though. It seems like privilege taken to the extreme, but again I just don't know enough about campus life to understand the value of the brick and mortar experience versus the online education someone receives.

I can say this in m limited experience - my online courses were much more engaging and thorough than the in-person classes. I had to do a lot more reading, writing, and interacting with fellow students online than in person. It was almost as if the school was overcompensating for the stigma of online learning, much to our advantage, tbh.
I think everyone will should consider Spring term a wash. The universities were unable to predict it, thanks to the fecklessness and incompetence of our national leaders, and so we entered Spring term without any clue how bad this would get. When it did get bad, we did our level best to finish our courses in a conscientious manner. This is the kind of circumstance that it is impossible to react ideally to. I have a hard time faulting the universities, the professors, or the students for what they were able to do in the Spring. We all did what we could do, and I did a fair amount of commiserating and hand holding myself. My students were also very understanding. That said, I went out of my way to make the end of the course as worthwhile as the beginning.

So, I have a very difficult time with those who use those highly unique circumstances as grounds for a lawsuit. We will all look back on that time and forgive each other for not being everything we had expected before going into those months. We did what we could do in the situation.

Now, where my sympathy starts to run really dry is in the next step. If I am a student, and I hated online work, then I should probably not sign up for summer courses during a pandemic. As Fall approaches, and I know there is a better than even chance that I will be online again, I don't sign up for it if I don't like that mode of education. On the university end, I do not present the online as the same as in-person. Unless the university knows it can keep people safe, do not open the campus in the Fall term for normal in-person instruction.

In the public universities of red states, we have been pushed to open. We are part of the state apparatus, and the state can force us to open, whether we like it or not. My spouse will be teaching in-person, in a classroom, in mere days. I am freaking the ____ out. We both are. She will bring what she has been exposed to in the university home to her family thanks to Republican state leaders. I took a leave of absence without pay for the year because my union contract allows me to do that (thank God for that, and no thanks to the anti-labor Republican Party that has fought labor tooth and nail). I had already been planning to be away to focus on writing a complete draft of my book, but now I am glad not to have to go to campus for any reason.

In the midst of the current chaos, when there are so many deadly serious things to worry about, the idea that some BYU student is suing BYU over a less than optimal educational experience in a global pandemic makes me want to shove my middle finger in his eye. Doubtless I would not, even if I were given the opportunity, because God knows where that little jerk has been and what he has been up to.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Doctor CamNC4Me
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Doctor CamNC4Me »

Kish,

I'm really sorry you and your spouse are being put in literal mortal danger due to politics. I wish your administration would grow a spine and stick up for its faculty and facilitate the safer method of distance learning until we get through this thing.

- Doc

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:22 am
Kish,

I'm really sorry you and your spouse are being put in literal mortal danger due to politics. I wish your administration would grow a spine and stick up for its faculty and facilitate the safer method of distance learning until we get through this thing.

- Doc
I agree.

Kishy is right on all this.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Kishkumen »

Doctor CamNC4Me wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:22 am
Kish,

I'm really sorry you and your spouse are being put in literal mortal danger due to politics. I wish your administration would grow a spine and stick up for its faculty and facilitate the safer method of distance learning until we get through this thing.

- Doc
Thanks for those kind thoughts, DocCam. It is a complicated situation, but we faculty do feel something like cannon fodder in it.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Shulem wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:28 am
I agree.

Kishy is right on all this.
Thank you, Shulem.
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Lemmie »

I agree with considering the Spring term a wash, but unfortunately, the bills for my three children’s semesters were not so understanding. Full price is demanded, even though the full service was not rendered. Even if the cause is an act of God, that’s not a good reason for requiring that the full financial burden be borne solely by the consumer.

Imo only, the faculty should be paid as their commitment in theory didn’t change (full disclosure I am faculty) the students didn’t receive the full service and shouldn’t have to pay full price, and the institutions should not insist on charging consumers for a product they didn’t deliver.

I don’t agree with the lawsuit in the OP, unless he is simply asking for a reduction in the spring tuition.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Lemmie my dear,

Spring is a wash. The pandemic has brought a near war-like condition upon the USA and the whole world.

Because of the pandemic there is a war-like condition (well beyond a riot) that encompasses the earth with terrible grip. The price ($$$) has to go up! The same product that people are used to is no longer available because of the pandemic. The alternative and substitute is however available but at the same price or higher even though the standard or quality is reduced. Business as usual is a thing of the past. Everything is changing. The world will never be the same again. This pandemic is shifting the entire planet into a new phase.

:geek:

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Lemmie wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:42 am
I agree with considering the Spring term a wash, but unfortunately, the bills for my three children’s semesters were not so understanding. Full price is demanded, even though the full service was not rendered. Even if the cause is an act of God, that’s not a good reason for requiring that the full financial burden be borne solely by the consumer.

Imo only, the faculty should be paid as their commitment in theory didn’t change (full disclosure I am faculty) the students didn’t receive the full service and shouldn’t have to pay full price, and the institutions should not insist on charging consumers for a product they didn’t deliver.

I don’t agree with the lawsuit in the OP, unless he is simply asking for a reduction in the spring tuition.
From the article:
Hiatt, of Bountiful, is entitled to a pro-rated refund for tuition and fees for the remaining days of winter semester after classes moved from in-person to online and campus facilities were closed, according to the suit. He paid $2,895 in tuition and fees for winter semester and $1,200 for spring. He expects to graduate next June.
"Petition wasn’t meant to start a witch hunt as I’ve said 6000 times." ~ Hanna Seariac, LDS apologist

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Physics Guy »

I found this semester—ours just ended two weeks ago—much more work than a normal one. It was probably nonetheless a poorer learning experience for the students. I and my colleagues and our TA’s tried our best, but in-person communication is hard to replace. I didn’t use to think it mattered but you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Nobody is suing German universities, though, because we never charge tuition fees. My North American colleagues are likewise doing their best under hard circumstances but their students have been charged a lot for it by their institutions. I’m really happy not to feel this burden.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Lemmie »

Kishkumen wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:59 am
From the article:
Hiatt, of Bountiful, is entitled to a pro-rated refund for tuition and fees for the remaining days of winter semester after classes moved from in-person to online and campus facilities were closed, according to the suit. He paid $2,895 in tuition and fees for winter semester and $1,200 for spring. He expects to graduate next June.
Excellent. I wish the schools billing me would price similarly.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Lemmie »

Physics Guy wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:12 pm
I found this semester—ours just ended two weeks ago—much more work than a normal one. It was probably nonetheless a poorer learning experience for the students. I and my colleagues and our TA’s tried our best, but in-person communication is hard to replace. I didn’t use to think it mattered but you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Nobody is suing German universities, though, because we never charge tuition fees. My North American colleagues are likewise doing their best under hard circumstances but their students have been charged a lot for it by their institutions. I’m really happy not to feel this burden.
Good points, and it is a burden, one I’m feeling from both ends, as both a provider of and a payer for.

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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

Post by Kishkumen »

Physics Guy wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:12 pm
I found this semester—ours just ended two weeks ago—much more work than a normal one. It was probably nonetheless a poorer learning experience for the students. I and my colleagues and our TA’s tried our best, but in-person communication is hard to replace. I didn’t use to think it mattered but you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Nobody is suing German universities, though, because we never charge tuition fees. My North American colleagues are likewise doing their best under hard circumstances but their students have been charged a lot for it by their institutions. I’m really happy not to feel this burden.
I wish we did have free tuition. The American model of education is frankly stupid. But, we have what we have . . . for now. Maybe this experience will make the flaws and abuses of the system more evident and show it is all unsustainable. When it comes to publicly or religiously subsidized education, I am less exacting in my demands of the university for Spring.

If I were paying for truly private education, or out-of-state tuition, I would totally see suing for the failures of Spring as a reasonable response. But, frankly, the tuition of publics and religious schools like BYU is heavily subsidized, and so I think the people already benefiting from that subsidization should lump it. Again, however, I am thinking of Spring. The idea that the financial model should be the same going forward when the education is not actually the same does not make sense to me.
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Re: BYU being sued for "online" curriculum not being what was paid for

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Shulem wrote:
Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:53 am
Lemmie my dear,

Spring is a wash. The pandemic has brought a near war-like condition upon the USA and the whole world.

Because of the pandemic there is a war-like condition (well beyond a riot) that encompasses the earth with terrible grip. The price ($$$) has to go up! The same product that people are used to is no longer available because of the pandemic. The alternative and substitute is however available but at the same price or higher even though the standard or quality is reduced. Business as usual is a thing of the past. Everything is changing. The world will never be the same again. This pandemic is shifting the entire planet into a new phase.

:geek:
Wise Shulem,

You have summed it up!

Just a tiny anecdote regarding how the world will never be the same. If we had trouble with cable in the past, it would require calling in, waiting on hold many minutes for an available rep, then several minutes of verifying my ownership, my address, my account number, then confirming the problem, reading ID numbers off various pieces of equipment, following instructions regarding unplugging, reconnecting, etc, etc etc, and eventually the rep would figure something out, ask me to wait on hold while they sent some signal, several more minutes of holding and voila! Problem fixed.

During the pandemic, I called in about an issue, dreading the time commitment. With no delay, an automated message announced that fewer reps were working due to COVID and then it recognized my account by my phone number, and asked “are you experiencing trouble with cable? 1 for yes 2 for no.” I hit 1, and another automated message stated all boxes were being reset in my home, please hit 1 if problem resolves.” About 20 seconds later, cable restarted with problem resolved, and I hit 1. Final automated message, “thank you.”

In total, less than 1.5 minutes, compared with pre-pandemic service at around 30 minutes average. After this is over, no one will tolerate going back to the old way, at least in this tiny area. I suspect things like this are happening all over.

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