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Some Colleges Worry They’ll Get Sued if They Reopen in the Fall

Some Colleges Worry They’ll Get Sued if They Reopen in the Fall

“said they needed to know their college wouldn’t get sued if anyone got sick, which is almost inevitable”

The conundrum here is that some schools will face lawsuits if they don’t reopen.

Inside Higher Ed reports:

Colleges Worry They’ll Be Sued if They Reopen Campuses

Wednesday afternoon, 14 college presidents from around the country gathered in front of their computers. On their screens they saw their peers, along with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who asked what they needed to reopen their campuses in the fall.

The presidents spoke about the need to be able to do more testing for the coronavirus, according to those who were either on the call or were knowledgeable about the conversation. But the presidents also said they needed to know their college wouldn’t get sued if anyone got sick, which is almost inevitable.

“They were mostly in listening mode, wanting to hear what the federal government could do to be helpful,” said University of Texas at El Paso president Heather Wilson, who was on the call. One way it can help, said Wilson, a former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico and secretary of the Air Force, “is to have some kind of liability protection.”

Colleges, in seeking that protection from Pence and from a Senate committee this week, aren’t alone. Manufacturers and business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have been pushing to be freed, at least temporarily during the pandemic, from being held liable if workers, customers and others get sick on their property — something a lawyer for Texas Christian University told senators is “foreseeable, perhaps inevitable.”


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Randy in Arizona | May 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

With regard to some of these institutions, the best thing they could do is stay shut down.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Randy in Arizona. | May 17, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Yes they should stay shut down.
    They do not value education at all.

    No liability limitations for them
    and no bail outs!

Legal gridlock. A cultural sclerosis. I don’t suppose we’d be lucky enough that all would reopen except the law schools.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to tom_swift. | May 17, 2020 at 12:51 am

    Some posters here keep quoting that they have read 40% of parents want to continue homeschooling.

    Homeschooling for college is also something that’s been happening the last several years also.

It’s simple, really: College sports revenue >>>>>>>>> the amounts of any lawsuits that actually make it far enough to do damage.

No serious Division I school is going to pass up that kind of revenue. Period. No matter what the NCAA may be saying now. That will, in turn, start the ball rolling downhill for any colleges “on the fence” because they’re afraid of lawsuits.

Or maybe that’s just me thinking crazy thoughts.

Why are people worried about coronavirus lawsuits? I doubt an “I got the flu on your premises” lawsuit would get anywhere, so why would a coronavirus lawsuit get past “act of god, petition denied”?