Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. is facing a class-action lawsuit filed by a disgruntled student, alleging the university is refusing to refund student payments for room and board along with other campus services that aren’t available now in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuit alleges Liberty University is refusing to reimburse students for services it failed to offer, Law & Crime reports. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
“This is a class action brought on behalf of all people who paid fees to cover the costs of services and/or activities (including parking, room and board, campus fees, activity fees, athletic fees, and other fees) for the spring 2020 academic semester at Liberty University and who, because of the university’s response and policies relating to the novel coronavirus disease pandemic, lost the benefits of the services and activities for which their fees were paid, without having those fees refunded to them,” the lawsuit alleges. “Despite ending on-campus services and activities for the rest of the semesters and leaving students with no safe and practical choice other than moving out of their on-campus housing and discontinuing coming to Liberty’s campus, Liberty has refused to refund to students and their families the unused portions for the fees that they each paid to cover the costs of certain on-campus services and activities, which are no longer available to the students.”
Liberty University, unlike scores of other campuses across the nation, has stubbornly refused to close and instead invited students back on campus at the end of March after briefly shutting down. Falwell, an avid supporter of President Donald Trump has promoted conspiracy theories about the virus and downplayed the danger posed by the virus, even as cases were reported across the campus.
At a cost of $9,000 to $11,000 per student, it’s easy to see why some students may be upset, especially since it only offered a $1,000 credit to those returning for the fall semester. The lawsuit alleges that Falwell’s decision to keep the campus “open” without providing many on-campus services was merely a ruse so that the university could profit from the pandemic.