Snarky Behavior

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

July 10, 2008 · 1 Comment

So yesterday I asked some of lawerly friends to read over the Great Fellowship Debacle of Ought-Eight and provide counsel, both legal and otherwise.  Here are some things I learned:

1.)  Lawyers and Summer Associates are either really bored, really prompt, really nerdy, or some combination therein.  Of the 12 or so people I asked to take a look, over half responded within 4 hours.  So thanks guys.

2.)  As one friend put it:  “Let’s not get overly litigious just quite yet. I couldn’t get a read on whether you were just online ranting or if you were seriously curious whether you have a legal claim.” I actually was curious if I had a legal claim, but more so because of how little leverage I have otherwise.  If you’re one student in a school that hosts over 1300, your tuition’s contribution to the budget is marginal.  On the other side of the coin, being one year through a two year master’s leaves me little recourse other than to suck it up, foot the bill, and spend the rest of my life angrily shaking my fist at Columbia on the way to work as I pass it on the public bus from my tenement house in the Bronx.

3.)  The consensus (I think) was that I might have a case, but it was weak and probably not worth my time.  Even if the statement is a misrepresentation, I would have to prove that it was reasonably reliant (which might be doable, considering I’ve seen it used in other promotional materials, including the admittance package), and then I’d probably have to prove scienter, meaning that the statement was intentionally misleading.  Plus there are issues of damages; it’s hard to weight the opportunity cost of the forgone scholarship at GW against the intangible benefits Columbia could argue their degree provides.  All in all, again, not worth my time.

4)  The most consistent advice is that I try to work this out with the administration.  That I explain my situation and write and e-mail explaining my position.  There might even be an appeals process I can work through.  So I’ve called the Student Affairs Dean and written her the letter… we’ll see what comes of that.  It sounds like in the past the administration works to get you a “reader” position (as in reading papers and exams) which is small-commitment/small award fellowship for the first semester, and then get you a Program Assistant fellowship for the second semester (1/4 tuition or $9,000 for 20 hr./wk).

So anyway, there’s still hope, I guess.  Will let you know what comes of it.

Categories: graduate school
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1 response so far ↓

  • Rohit // July 10, 2008 at 2:47 pm | Reply

    Hope things work out dude. Also, there’s always the possibility that I fail out of law school (or barely pass); that simultaneously, you fail out of grad school (or barely pass); and in our collective hatred for life and ourselves, we start an ambulance chasing enterprise. This might be the hare-brained scheme we have been looking for all along.

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