DULUTH, Minn. - Thirteen former University of Minnesota-Duluth students have filed a lawsuit against the university asking for a minimum of $50,000 per student. Attorneys are investigating what could be an elaborate fraud on the university’s part.
The lawsuit claims UMD’s College of Education program promised two separate teaching licenses as part of a new hybrid program, but upon graduation, the students learned that the program was not accredited and they were not eligible for any form of full-time licensure.
After studying the case for months, attorney William Sand admits there's still a lot his team doesn't know and hopes this suit will help them find out. All 13 students graduated from UMD in December after being the first to complete a new hybrid elementary and special education program that would earn them two separate teaching licenses.
The lawsuit filed Thursday in Hennepin County claims upon graduation the students learned that the program was not accredited, and they were not eligible for any form of full-time teaching license. Several of those recent grads continue to find struggle to find work they went to school for, and some believe they had been passed up for jobs by employers because of the university’s so-called “paperwork glitch.” The students claim UMD has not been upfront with students about it.
In April, the Board of Teaching granted UMD a provisional accreditation. The university submitted all their programs for review and a site visit to the school is being planned. However, Sand and his clients believe the damage is done, so they are suing for lost wages, emotional stress and tuition paid to a university they say was trying to cover up elaborate fraud.
Statement from Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Andrea Schokker
“All students that have graduated from UMD in the Education programs who qualified for licensure have been granted full licensure. All program updates have been provided to the Board of Teaching. Throughout this process UMD has kept students informed of the situation.”