Georgetown law student group demands tuition reduction after university moves to classes online

The students argue that the move to virtual learning "defies both science and common sense."

Updated: January 6, 2022 - 11:37pm

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The Conservative and Libertarian Student Association at Georgetown University Law School is asking school administrators to reduce tuition or move back to in-person classes. 

The students argue that the move to virtual learning "defies both science and common sense."

On Dec. 29, Georgetown President John DeGioia announced that due to rising COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant, the start of the spring semester would be virtual and classes would resume in person on Jan. 31, 2022.  

The Conservative and Libertarian Student Association (CALSA) wrote a letter to the university president and the law school dean with several reasons why the move to virtual classes "does not follow the current recommendations of public health officials and defies common-sense principles."

The federal government has avoided recommending lockdowns, students wrote, adding that "President Biden himself was 'insisting the United States would not lock down or close schools' because of the omicron variant." CALSA also argued that Omicron is mild and the decision to close campus does not follow guidance from federal medical officials or scientific studies.

The students described the decision as "frustratingly vague about whether mandatory virtual instruction will be limited to the end of January." They say this uncertain "return not only comes at a psychological cost to students, but also a significant financial cost," including determining living arrangements and moving. 

This uncertainty is further compounded, CALSA argues, because the university "provides no discernible metric by which to judge when a safe return to campus is warranted." The students accuse Georgetown of having a "constantly changing and draconian approach" over the last year with COVID.

"Students are now left in a lurch," according to CALSA. "After registering for classes and paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and Washington-area housing costs, students are informed of — rather than consulted on — a policy inconsistent with the health and safety protocols advocated by national health experts and political leaders. "Motivation, mental health, socialization, and the quality of education provided are suffering, all while the University and Law Center continue to raise tuition for an experience to which the students never consented."

Demanding the university "re-implement in-person learning for the full Spring semester," the students concluded their letter: "If the school moves forward with its plan for mandatory virtual learning, we call for an appropriate reduction in tuition to account for the compromised semester being provided to Georgetown Law students."

CALSA co-presidents Luke Bunting and Elana Quint spoke with Fox News about the letter.

Bunting said he is worried school administrators are "not following the science" but "possibly doing this just to placate the small minority of students who want maximalist covid protections even in the face of the data."

Quint said CALSA's letter has "received overwhelming support." 

"We've all stepped up to the plate — getting vaccinated, wearing masks and coming together as a community — which is why this decision seems so shocking. We've done our part. Now it's time for Georgetown to do its."

The private Catholic university has received $6.1 million in COVID relief funds, Fox reports.

One year of tuition at Georgetown law is $69,280. The estimated total cost of one year of attendance is $99,600 when including room, board and other expenses.

Schools across the country are altering their spring semesters due to COVID concerns. Many public and private universities are requiring students and faculty to receive the booster as soon as eligible. More than 5,000 K-12 public schools are facing pandemic-related disruptions this week as well, despite the Biden administration's plea to stay open.