Oklahoma man files lawsuit for OU fee refund

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma man has filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, hoping to recoup fees paid to his son’s college.

“The worst thing about the whole situation is most of these students have borrowed money to finance these expenses,” said John Thetford of Levinson Law, P.C. Thetford is part of the team representing the father’s case.

It’s been over two months since the University of Oklahoma transitioned to online classes for the remainder of the semester.

Christopher Knox, of Tulsa, filed the lawsuit on Friday, saying some prepaid school fees were never used.

“We’ve listed probably 25 different fees that were specifically listed as prepaid fees,” Thetford said. “Some of those include parking fees, student activity fees. Many of them involve things like the rec center.”

Knox is the parent of a University of Oklahoma student. His attorney tells News 4 they’re not seeking tuition refunds. Just a reimbursement of fees that weren’t used. That’s why the lawsuit targets the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

“The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education are the ones that promulgate the rules and approve the expenses, the fees,” Thetford said. “We think they could, with the stroke of a pen, undo all of that and authorize all the universities to provide reimbursement.”

According to the lawsuit, Knox paid just under $4,300 in mandatory/ course related fees for the Spring 2020 semester.

Thetford says he knows his client isn’t alone and other families could later join the possible class-action lawsuit.

The University of Oklahoma provided News 4 this statement regarding the lawsuit- “It’s not the practice of the University to comment on pending litigation, particularly in cases like that this one that do not list OU as a party. In general, throughout the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, OU has prioritized the safety of its students and campus community, and has recognized the disruptive impact the virus has had on our students and their families. This is why OU acted quickly to issue refunds for housing, food and parking, and provided individualized financial assistance to students.”

But Thetford says at this time his client hasn’t received any form of reimbursement.

“They have not received any refunds whatsoever. Nor have they received any response, written verbal or other,” Thetford said.

When asked for As a matter of practice, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education do not comment with specificity on potential litigation. It is important to note that the State Regents are a constitutionally-created board functioned to coordinate among public colleges and universities. The State Regents’ responsibilities include prescribing academic standards, determining functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, granting degrees, requesting appropriations on behalf of state system institutions, and approving institutional allocations. The State Regents do not enter into contracts with students, collect student fees, or provide the services for which those fees are collected.”

News 4 does not have record of receiving a previous statement. We have now asked for the full statement to be sent to us.

A court date has not yet been set for the suit.

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