In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, students are having to adjust to a new normal, but some law students at Cal Western School of Law are now suing their school.
After learning about rising tuition costs, Cal Western Law student Emily Casillas started a petition.
“We felt like our education is diminishing,” she said.
She said the quality of her now-distance learning education varies from professor to professor, but she doesn't think pre-recorded lectures are effective.
“It’s wild to think that a year from now, I am supposed to be taking the bar exam and I am teaching myself the law,” she said.
Two class-action lawsuits were recently filed against Cal Western by its own students. They are suing for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, among other things.
While students acknowledge the effects of the pandemic on their education, they are upset about paying full tuition and fees, and the rise in tuition this upcoming fall.
“We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on student loans to go to school, so we want to know what we are paying for," Casillas said. "We pay for access to facilities and resources on campus and we are not allowed in any of these buildings."
But Dean Niels Schaumann said they are doing everything they can to provide the best possible services to students under severe pandemic restrictions.
In a statement to NBC 7, the Dean said, “Due to the State and County closure mandates, we are currently not permitted to open our campus facilities and library to anyone, with the exception of those individuals designated as essential personnel,” continued Schaumann. “As soon as the State and County health departments allow, we will reopen our facilities for individual and small group study, and we have a plan in place for the safe reopening of our campus—once we are legally permitted to do so.”
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The statement also tells NBC 7 the school is investing heavily in technology and training, and have hired new faculty members.
“Like almost all California law schools, California Western did post a tuition increase for fall 2020 but the percent increase this year is the same as it has been for the last few years and is less than many other California schools,” said Schaumann. “Even after the increase, Cal Western's tuition remains below the median for California ABA-approved law schools.”
"California Western's commitment to the education and welfare of our students always has been, and will remain, our top priority. This unprecedented pandemic will not shake our resolve to keep delivering on that promise," stated Schaumann.