Laval University student wins lawsuit for lost tuition

A Quebec judge has ordered the Laval University history students' association to repay the tuition fees of former student Marc-Antoine Dumas, who abandoned his studies during the student protests last year.

Marc-Antoine Dumas sued history students' association over student strike

Students protested against planned tuition fee hikes in front of Quebec's national assembly during what became known as the 'Maple Spring' in 2012. (Radio-Canada)

Former Laval University student Marc-Antoine Dumas has won his lawsuit against his former student association for lost tuition fees.

A Quebec judge has ordered the Laval University history students' association to pay back Dumas' tuition fees, which he lost after abandoning his term.

Dumas said every time he tried to attend his classes, he was blocked by protesters.  

He said he waited until the last minute to drop his courses, hoping the strike would end. However, the university refused to refund his tuition fees because he missed the deadline.

"I sent an injunction to the student association, because I considered it responsible for the fact that I had to abandon my term," Dumas said.

The judge agreed with Dumas and ordered the student association to pay him more than $1,200.

Student groups worry about precedent

Student associations worry that the decision, rendered in the small-claims division of Quebec Court, could set a precedent.

"We are studying the court case," said Antoine Genest-Grégoire, the president of one of the largest federation of student groups, the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ). "Obviously, it's alarming."

Former student Jean-François Morasse says he is weighing the possibility of seeking redress from the student tuition fee protests in small-claims court.

A spokesman for the student group ASSÉ, Benjamin Gingras, said he's confident a small-claims court judgment will not set a precedent.

However, Gingras said it's disappointing that a student would use the legal system to fight a decision that was the result of a vote by his fellow students.

Another student who turned to the courts in 2012 to try to force his fellow students to allow him access to his classes, Jean-François Morasse, said he is looking into launching a suit in small-claims court.

He said it would not surprise him if other students opposed to the strike went down the same path.

"There were terms lost, diplomas lost, delays getting into the job market," Morasse said.