Colorado college students have filed two class-action lawsuits against two universities requesting the refund of student fees after campuses have been mostly shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The lawsuits, filed against the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents and Colorado State University’s Board of Governors last weekend, argue that students should not have to pay fees separate from tuition, The Denver Post reported.
These fees are typically associated with having access to events and services like the student recreation center, bus passes, athletic events and arts performances, which are not available to students in the coronavirus era.
Local attorney Igor Raykin who is representing the students told The Hill they “view this primarily as an issue of fairness” for universities to refund the “share of the services they can’t provide.”
He said he has received “numerous” calls from attorneys across the country dealing with similar issues.
“I don’t understand why these universities feel the need right now to hold onto something that frankly doesn’t belong to them,” he said.
One of his clients Miles Levin, a University of Colorado in Boulder student, said he paid more than $650 in fees for the spring 2020 semester, according to the lawsuit.
Ken McConnellogue, a spokesman for the University of Colorado, said the fees allow students to use the 24/7 nurse hotline, virtual fitness classes and counseling.
“Additionally, student fees cover debt service on some facilities, which students voted to approve,” McConnellogue said. “Fees also pay salaries and benefits for staff who provide ongoing maintenance, and whose work will help ensure readiness to reopen at the appropriate time.”
Colorado State University declined to comment to the Post on pending litigation but referenced a March statement from Provost Rick Miranda, which said fees fund the library system, mental health services, student legal services and career advising.
The universities switched to online learning in March, leaving dorms open to students without a place to go but shutting down most public spaces.
The University of Colorado spent $44 million refunding housing and dining fees for its students after moving to online classes, while Colorado State University dolled out $19 million in rebates for housing and dining.