Philly Coronavirus News: Drexel Hit With Student Class-Action Suit Demanding Tuition Refunds

Plus, Mayor Kenney is being pressured to ban cars from the Ben Franklin Parkway. We 100 percent agree.

drexel campus in philadelphia before the coronavirus hit campus, which is now closed, leading to a lawsuit

Drexel University’s campus in pre-coronavirus days. Now, campus is closed. And so a Drexel student has filed a class-action lawsuit against the university seeking over $5 million in damages and tuition refunds. (AP Photo)

A roundup of Philly coronavirus news.

Drexel Student Files Class-Action Lawsuit Over Coronavirus Campus Changes

We were waiting for this to happen. And we have to say, we’re a little surprised it took so long.

Every college in the Philadelphia area has canceled all on-campus classes and activities due to the coronavirus. The same is true for most colleges around the country. Well, many students pay a lot of money for that college experience, and so the question becomes… Should students be entitled to a partial refund?

Grainger Rickenbaker says most definitely.

Rickenbaker, a 20-year-old South Carolina native, has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the school on behalf of him and his fellow classmates. The suit seeks more than $5 million in collective refunds and damages.

In the Drexel lawsuit, Rickenbaker says that he could have gone to other colleges. But he claims he chose Drexel because of the school’s promised on-campus experience and the “experiential learning” that Drexel touts in its marketing materials.

Rickenbaker points out in the suit that he and the other students are missing out on the following:

  • Face-to-face interaction with professors, mentors, and peers
  • Access to facilities such as computer labs, study rooms, laboratories, libraries, etc
  • Student governance and student unions
  • Extra-curricular activities, groups, intramurals, etc
  • Student art, culture, and other activities
  • Social development and independence
  • Hands-on learning and experimentation
  • Networking and mentorship opportunities
  • Attendance to athletic events

Ultimately, argues the Drexel lawsuit, by shifting to an online or pass-fail curriculum for the remainder of the academic year, Drexel has “diminished” the “value of any degree” issued by the school for work completed during this time. Rickenbaker says in the suit that this value has been diminished for the rest of his life.

Drexel does not comment on pending litigation.

Million Dollar Idea: Close the Parkway to Cars

The Schuylkill River Trail and other popular hiking and walking destinations near Center City have been a little too crowded in this era of social distancing. And so the following idea has been brought to the table: close the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to cars, thereby giving walkers a lot more space in which to walk. Sort of Philly Free Streets, coronavirus-style.

As Inga Saffron reports in the Inquirer, several civic groups have sent letters to Mayor Kenney urging him to make the change and five members of City Council have signed on as well.

You can add us to the list of supporters of the idea.

No word yet from the mayor’s office as to his decision. But we expect one shortly.

Lew Blum Says Coronavirus Is Bad for Business

One man’s bad news is another man’s good news. Such is the case with this Billy Penn story surrounding Lew Blum, a.k.a. the universally-loathed guy who has probably towed your car at some point in your life.

Apparently, Lew Blum’s business is way down thanks to the coronavirus, and Lew is none too happy about it. One nugget from the article: Blum isn’t providing his drivers with hand sanitizer, because hand sanitizer makes your hands “dry and scaly.” Instead, he’s giving them a bar of Dove soap and a bottle of water. Makes sense.