A claim for compensation following the cancellation of a degree pathway against the University of Sydney has increased to $300,000 amidst allegations of systemic mistreatment by university management. The University has reportedly offered $25,000 as out-of-court settlement.
Honi Soit has previously reported on a freedom of information dispute between Phillipp Kreutzer, the father of a prospective student, and the University following the cancellation of a Medicine degree pathway program with Southern Cross University. Kreutzer’s daughter was enrolled in the program when it was axed, rendering her HECS debt redundant.
The claim for compensation covers economic and emotional loss suffered as a result of the cancellation.
The University previously denied that any detriment had been incurred.
Kreutzer has expectations that the University’s first settlement offer of $25,000 will increase, given it is open for an undefined period.
The initial cancellation disrupted the lives of many students. “No attempt has been made to contact students…no communication through the university. They basically said it’s all over, go away,” said Kreutzer.
After a lengthy process of communications with the NSW Ombudsman’s office, eventuating in no findings of misconduct on the University’s part, Kreutzer sought to review the findings of the initial investigator. Throughout the review process, Kreutzer claims that the University has failed to cooperate.
Given the limited resources of the Ombudsman, it appears unlikely that such a course of action will be explored. Subsequently Kreutzer claims “legal proceedings are very possible,” or alternatively, “compensation that represents a reasonable acknowledgement to the extent they’ve damaged [my daughter].”
Kreutzer remains firm that the purpose of both the claim and his actions to date have been to hold the University management to account. Despite the University’s assertion that the Kreutzers were focussed on extracting money, it appears the initial discussion regarding compensation was prompted by Ombudsman comments.
After proceedings that have dragged on for close to two years, Kreutzer maintains “the purpose is to expose them and to get their attitude to change”.
The University did not provide comment by the time of publication.