In a legal saga that has caught the attention of education enthusiasts and concerned parents alike, a 21-year-old Malaysian student is taking his international boarding school to court.
The student alleges that the mishandling of his recommendation letters by the school resulted in rejections from 15 prestigious U.S. universities, including Ivy League institutions like Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, according to a report by MalaysiaKini.
The 21-year-old, along with his parents, initiated legal proceedings by filing a writ of summons at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on January 3. The lawsuit targets the boarding school in Negeri Sembilan and four other defendants.
Accuses school of mishanding his recommendation letters
According to court documents, the student contends that improperly crafted recommendation letters became the stumbling block to his admission into the U.S. universities in March of the previous year.
The repercussions of the alleged mishandling were substantial. While the aspiring student managed to secure admission to three U.S. universities—Washington University, University of California in San Diego, and University of California in Davis—the rejection letters from 15 others dealt a significant blow to his academic aspirations and future career prospects.
The crux of the lawsuit centers on the claim that the defendants, including the school, failed to ensure that the recommendation letters were signed by teachers who had personal interactions with the student during his tenure at the institution. It is argued that this oversight contravened the requirements of numerous U.S. universities, which stipulate that qualified individuals and legal employees should endorse recommendation letters.
Breach of contract
The student, a scholarship holder, further alleges a breach of contract. He contends that the defendants failed to provide the necessary support for his admission applications and allowed unethical practices, including the copying and pasting of a standardized template as content for recommendation letters.
The student and his family are seeking various reliefs, including general, aggravated, exemplary, and special damages. They are also pursuing declarations that the defendants breached contracts and committed negligence. In a bid for justice, the family seeks a mandatory injunction compelling the defendants to prepare and deliver a written statement to the U.S. universities, explaining and admitting to the alleged mistakes and negligence.
On January 12, the five defendants responded to the lawsuit by entering an appearance through their legal representation from the law firm Azman Davidson & Co.