Class action lawsuit against Texas Tech System demands refunds after COVID-19 response

Education

Texas Tech campus, March, 2021 (Nexstar/Staff)

LUBBOCK, Texas (KLBK) — An Angelo State University student filed a class action lawsuit Tuesday against the entire Texas Tech University System.

It said in part, “This is a class action lawsuit on behalf of all persons who paid or will pay tuition to attend one of the Universities in the Tech System1 for an in-person, hands-on education for semesters affected by Covid-19 starting in the Spring 2020 semester and had their course work moved to remote online learning.”

The lawsuit by Peggy Bryan said, “The Universities have retained the value of the tuition and mandatory fees, while failing to provide the services for which they were paid.”

In the spring of 2020, Texas Tech and other schools in the TTUS began switching to online courses to slow the spread of COVID-19. Sporting events, and other events at the various schools were canceled.

“The Universities have not made any refund of any portion of the tuition and mandatory fees,” the lawsuit said.

Texas Tech has a special legal protection called sovereign immunity. In oversimplified terms, sovereign immunity means you cannot sue the government without the government’s permission. The lawsuit attempts to overcome this defense by saying the Texas Tech University System violated constitutional rights.

The government cannot take property (including money) without due process. The lawsuit claims Texas Tech violated due process and equal protection rights.

The lawsuit said the tuition and fees are “a constitutional taking under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.”

Bryan’s legal team included lawyers from Texas, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Everythinglubbock.com reached out to Texas Tech for a comment. The school responded:

“The Texas Tech University System, and its institutions, have and continue to prioritize the learning and educational resources throughout the coronavirus pandemic to meet our students’ needs. Despite unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic, our university leaders worked to continue providing an exemplary education for students attending a university in our system. Through remote learning, continuous access to on-campus and virtual educational tools and resources, students remain the top priority for our administration, faculty and staff.”

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