Austrian sues over lack of lectures

May 12, 2006

An Austrian student union is taking legal action against Graz Medical University on behalf of a student who is demanding compensation for loss of future earnings because of a lack of lectures.

The student is one of about 140 medical students who are likely to have to sit out an entire semester or more because the university failed to provide enough lectures on three modules.

Stefan Schaller, chairman of the student union, hopes the action against the university will set a precedent. He said the union was demanding compensation for loss of future earnings because the student would not be able to enter the job market as soon as he would have liked. It is also demanding a refund of his tuition fees.

"We have taken action because legally we are in a position to claim compensation, but as always our main goal is to find a better solution - namely an increase in lectures," Mr Schaller said.

Gilbert Reibnegger, the university's vice-dean, said that such a move would be impossible. "Unfortunately, we have only a certain number of qualified professors, and they are already up to their ears in lectures and tutorials. It is just not possible for them to conduct more."

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