A lawsuit filed last month in federal court by former students at a shuttered New York University branch campus in Singapore alleges that the university defrauded them by falsely representing that its graduate arts campus in Asia was the academic equivalent of its Tisch School of the Arts in New York.
The complaint faults NYU for billing the two programs as identical when, the complaint alleges, “Tisch Asia was a subpar program in practically every aspect, from the quality of faculty, facilities and equipment to exclusion of Tisch Asia students from grants, competitions and networking opportunities available to students at Tisch New York.”
The complaint by the three former students claims that the only way Tisch Asia lived up to the New York campus was in the cost of tuition.
The complaint, filed Sept. 20 as a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, also accuses the university of falsely representing that “Tisch Asia would be a long-lasting program.” NYU announced plans to close its Singapore campus, opened in fall 2007, in fall 2012, citing at the time “significant financial challenges that have required increasingly unsustainable subsidies totaling millions of dollars per year.”
An NYU spokesman, John Beckman, responded to the lawsuit in a written statement. “The students at Tisch Asia had the same curriculum as Tisch uses in New York; many Tisch Asia courses were taught by New York-based faculty and all were taught by highly qualified faculty; students had excellent facilities and equipment; and, notably, graduates received a Tisch School of the Arts degree. It was a robust, graduate-level program in the arts, and artistically the school was a success, with a number of students winning prestigious student film awards. It did not work financially and operated at a steep deficit precisely because NYU was providing the students with an excellent education that cost more than tuition dollars brought in. And even after the unsustainability of the finances became clear, NYU continued to honor its commitment to the students it had admitted by keeping the school open until each and every one had had a chance to graduate. This suit is wholly without merit, and we expect to prevail in court.”
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