October 6, 2013
Globe University students sue, claiming they were misled about jobs
Five former and current students at Woodbury-based Globe University have filed a class-action lawsuit alleging the school misled them about their post-graduation prospects.
The suit in Hennepin County District Court comes after a jury awarded a former Globe dean almost $400,000 in an August whistleblower trial. The dean, Heidi Weber, alleged Globe fired her after she raised concerns about the for-profit school's student recruitment practices, among other issues.
Minneapolis-based Halunen & Associates, the law firm that represented Weber, filed the students' lawsuit Wednesday. It alleges Globe misled students about their ability to transfer credits to other schools as well as the job placement rates and starting salaries of graduates.
A Globe spokeswoman said the university is disappointed the students "chose to handle their concerns in this way."
"Although it is disappointing that even one student has something unfavorable to say about our schools, we know the sentiment of these five individuals does not reflect all," Globe spokeswoman Naomi McDonald said in a statement. "We will not allow it to cast a black eye on the thousands of students proud to be a member of our schools."
The 128-year-old Globe and its sister school, Minnesota School of Business, serve more than 11,000 students on campuses in five states and online.
This summer, Globe vigorously fought Weber's allegations in court, insisting she was let go for her inferior job performance. The university is filing motions with the judge in that trial to overturn the verdict and is prepared to appeal, McDonald said.
In the latest lawsuit, one current and four former students on Globe's Woodbury and Sioux Falls campuses say they got inaccurate or misleading information from Globe's advertisements and its enrollment staff.
The complaint alleges the school left students "deep in debt but without the credits, degrees or professional opportunities defendants promised." It says Globe's marketing practices violate state consumer fraud and false advertising laws.
Scott Carlson, the attorney in the case, said his firm started receiving calls and emails from Globe students during the Weber trial.
"We kept hearing the same stories from the students who contacted us," he said. "I talked to enough of them that I am confident our claims are very solid."
Aggressive marketing at for-profit colleges and universities has come under intense scrutiny in recent years. Last year, a report from a two-year U.S. Senate investigation criticized some of these colleges' recruiting tactics and raised concerns about graduation and loan default rates. That report did not include Globe.
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