The six students were suspended from CBS for nine months in the fall of 2019. They had sent out a Facebook party invitation that, according to CBS, was sexist and broke CBS rules of conduct. The invitation included sexual references and encouraged heavy drinking. It was picked up by the Danish newspaper Berlingske.
Though it was a private party, and the invitation was sent out after Intro week, the students signed the invite “Vejlederteamet” (“The counsellor team”), which, according to CBS, made the invite appear to be associated with CBS.
Twenty more students at CBS were also suspended during the fall semester of 2019 for shorter periods of around four months, mainly for disciplinary cases related to Intro week. The suspensions eventually triggered an inquiry into sexual harassment at CBS and a later reform of the introduction week.
The six students behind the party invitation were suspended for nine months, leaving them a whole academic year behind.
The students claim that the suspension delayed the completion of their studies, and with that, their possibility to start working and earning money. Therefore, they are suing CBS for compensation.
The students have previously filed a complaint about the case with the Danish Agency for Higher Education and Science, and later the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman, who, in March 2022, concluded that, though the punishment was justified, it was too severe and disproportionate. The Ombudsman’s decision, however, has no legal repercussions for CBS.
In May 2022, CBS received a claim for compensation from the six students, which CBS refused. In December 2022, CBS received two separate subpoenas from two students and one joint subpoena from four students, who are seeking DKK 130,000 each in compensation.
The four students behind the last lawsuit are represented by lawyer Mads Pramming, who has said to Berlingske that he believes they have a good case.
“I would have expected that they would have been scolded and received a warning. If you really wanted to put your foot down, you could have suspended them. A week, a month, what do I know, but not something that affected their studies,” he said.
CBS WIRE has tried to reach Mads Pramming for a comment.
CBS will go to court
CBS does not intend to seek a settlement, which means the case will be brought before the court of Frederiksberg.
“CBS clearly finds that we have not acted in any way that renders us liable to pay any compensation to the students. Obviously, a lawsuit is expensive, but as a public university, we do not have the basis to settle unless ‘…there is every probability that [we] in a lawsuit will be sentenced to pay compensation’, which we and the attorney to the government assess to not be the case,” Mette Kuhlen Gullach writes to CBS WIRE citing the Ministry of Finance’s budget guidance, which CBS follows.
CBS estimates the court costs will amount to around DKK 300,000, excluding taxes.
The lawsuits are expected to be heard in court sometime during 2023 or 2024.
CBS WIRE has been in touch with the students behind the latest lawsuit, who decline to comment.