A group of Harvard students have learned a hard lesson about contract law from a judge. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
A flood of lawsuits filed against colleges and universities which moved to online learning in the spring of 2020 because of the pandemic are now getting their day in court. In one such case, three students sued Harvard over the university’s decision not to issue partial refunds when it moved its classes online. Like students across the country, the Harvard students lost out on what is undeniably an integral part of their college experience—the ability to interact with fellow students in person.
But the judge just found in favor of Harvard, tossing the lawsuit, as many judges deciding cases against other colleges will likely do—finding the contract does not expressly promise in person instruction, or access to on-campus facilities. It’s a lesson in reading admission contracts that students unfortunately learned the hard way.