Students refuse to drop suit against scholarship cuts

Updated: 2012-12-19 02:51

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

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Students attempting to sue a top Beijing law school over grant cuts on Tuesday refused to drop the case, although the college agreed to pay up.

China University of Political Science and Law paid just 2,000 yuan ($321) to scholarship students upon admission to its School of Juris Master in 2011.

The amount, a sharp decrease from the 9,000 yuan for arrivals in 2010, was due to budgetary constraints, the school said.

After 78 students filed a dispute with Changping district people's court, the college sent text messages to students' cell phones on Monday telling them they could apply for extra cash.

Despite the move, student representatives said they will not withdraw the administrative litigation.

"We have achieved only part of our goal," said a student leader who did not want to be identified.

Although the school's recruitment introduction issued in 2010 said the "amount of scholarship is to be determined for 2011", the students said the ambiguity was misleading and "irresponsible".

So far, the school has not provided any written documents to prove the education authority has cut its budget to subsidize students, the students said.

"We want a scholarship system that is transparent, standardized and runs according to stipulated procedures. Ambiguity should never exist," the student said. "More important, we need a system that documents changes so that we are able to trace and monitor important accounts in the future."

Another student, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, added that he also hopes the university can change the way it handles students' appeals.

"Leaders of the school and the university have talked with us at least four times since July. But the impression I get, personally speaking, is that they were stalling," he said.

The student from Henan province added that leaders became "less active" in responding to students' e-mails and "less sincere" in updating them about developments after rounds of discussions.

"We worried that the issue will not be solved before students go to different places for internships. So we filed the lawsuit," he said.

The 78 students filed separate indictments, attaching evidence to submit to the court.

Several university departments contacted on Monday and Tuesday declined to comment.

Beijing Times quoted an unnamed spokesperson for the university who said the lawsuit is the students' "legitimate right".

However, some disagree with the lawsuit. "I know that some of (the 78 students) might have financial difficulties, but the way to appeal is not wise," said Wang Xianli, a graduate of the university. "The college said clearly that the scholarship grant was to be determined."

Comments posted on the university's online bulletin board also accuse the group of being overaggressive, "going beyond the academic bottom line", and "lowering virtues for interests".

Changping court on Tuesday told China Daily it has not decided whether to accept the lawsuit.