A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles alleges that Loyola Marymount University should be ordered to provide refunds to cover fees paid for spring semester classes, which are now taking place online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gaia Shoham, an undergraduate from the Los Angeles area, alleges in her proposed class-action complaint that “the level and quality of instruction an educator can provide through an online format is lower than the level and quality of instruction that can be provided in person” and refunds should be paid as a result, according to the complaint filed in federal court.

There was no immediate response to a message left with an LMU official seeking comment.

According to the suit, university officials promised last month to make a student housing refund pro-rated from March 22, and promised to issue a partial refund or credit for meal plans, parking and recreation fees.

The announcement did not address refunds for other fees, including the student activity fee, the document states.

LMU “has offered no explanation for how these refunds were calculated, and (they) appear to be wholly arbitrary,” Shoham contends.

As for tuition, she alleges that online instruction “is not commensurate with the same classes being taught in person.”

While Shoham agrees that “closing campus and transitioning to online classes was the right thing” for LMU to do because of the spread of COVID-19, the decision deprived plaintiffs the benefits of in-person instruction, access to campus and student activities, and other benefits and services for which fees were paid, she alleges.

The complaint seeks reimbursement of tuition and other campus fees.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in recent weeks in Los Angeles against USC and the University of California and California State University systems.

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