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Former student files lawsuit against OU for providing false data to US News & World Report, inflating university's ranking

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A flag on the South Oval Aug. 20. 

A former OU student has filed a class action lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma as a result of the university being stripped of its U.S. News & World Report ranking.

The lawsuit, which was filed May 28 on behalf of former OU student Elani Gretzer and all OU undergraduate students since 1999, alleges the university broke contract by providing false alumni giving data to U.S. News & World Report, inflating its ranking in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges" ranking as a result.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the Price College of Business was a "material factor" in Gretzer's decision to enroll at OU.

Dan Bauman, a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, tweeted about the case Wednesday.

According to the lawsuit, Gretzer "alleges breach of contract, unjust enrichment and seeks compensatory, consequential, punitive damages, costs and reasonable attorney’s fees for the University of Oklahoma’s deceptive and unfair business practices, as herein alleged."

A university spokesperson told The Daily in an email that the university had become aware of the lawsuit, but had not yet been served.

"We have learned that a class action lawsuit was filed against the university yesterday in connection with published education rankings, but at this time the university has not yet been served," the spokesperson said in the email. "We will take the opportunity to fully evaluate the legal action before formulating a response."

Gretzer was a student in the Price College of Business from spring 2016 until after the fall 2017 semester, according to the lawsuit. The suit is also filed on behalf of an estimated minimum of 350,000 people — all OU students who have enrolled since 1999, the year in which OU has admitted it began providing false information to U.S. News & World Report.

Inside Higher Ed reported May 23 that OU had been stripped of its U.S. News & World Report ranking.

This story was updated May 29 at 4:01 p.m. to include the comment from a university spokesperson.


Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and assistant news managing editor for The Daily. Previously he worked as summer editor-in-chief and as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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