The State University System of Florida is asking a Leon County circuit judge to throw out a potential class-action lawsuit in which students are asking for partial refunds of fees they paid for the spring semester.
Their lawsuit, which was filed in May, results from the public universities shutting down their campuses and shifting to online classes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the complaint, the plaintiffs argue that they should receive partial refunds of expenses including activities fees, athletics fees and transportation fees.
However, in a motion to dismiss the case which was filed last week, attorneys for the university system’s Board of Governors argued that the system’s fee structure is established in state law.
“Importantly, nowhere in the fees rubric established by the Legislature is there any provision that sets out a prorated refund of fees if an enrolled student contends they have not used a particular service or engaged in a particular activity because they are not physically on campus,” the motion says.
The Board is currently considering approval of the State University System of Florida Blueprint for Reopening Campuses. Tune in to listen live via https://t.co/fh22c7KQqM or visit our website for more information. https://t.co/cyLInYWRmR
— Board of Governors (@FLBOG) May 28, 2020
It continues, “Student fees are used for the benefit of all students throughout a particular institution. In addition to being totally unworkable, it would defeat the statutory framework … if students could select which fees they want to pay based on which facilities, activities or services they may or may not use during their enrollment at a university.”
The lawsuit is one of several cases filed here and in other states seeking refunds for students.
The named plaintiffs in this case are University of Florida graduate student Anthony Rojas, Florida Atlantic University undergraduate Amanda Heine and Florida Atlantic graduate student Jordan Sperling.
“FBOG’s (the Florida Board of Governors’) decision to transition to online classes and to request or encourage students to leave campus were responsible decisions to make, but it is unfair and unlawful for FBOG to retain fees and to pass the losses on to the students and their families,” the lawsuit adds.