Former student sues for damages

By Abigail Capobianco

A former Northeastern student has reopened a lawsuit against the university, accusing NU of retaliatory actions and refusing to follow through with the terms agreed upon in last year’s settlement.

Kimberly Northrup, a former NU graduate student, sued the university last September for failing to remove or chastise Professor Morris Freilich, after he had been accused of sexually harassing her and other students. As settlement for the lawsuit, Northrup was to receive an undisclosed amount of money from the university, along with the nullification of any debts owed to NU toward her education.

In a legal complaint filed by Northrup and her attorney, Matthew Cobb, she claims that the only debt she had withstanding to the university was a $3,000 federal Perkins loan. Expecting that the loan would be paid off by Northeastern, Northrup had gone to Europe for part of the year, and upon returning to her home in Cambridge, Northrop found her loan had been increased to $5,000 and had been sent to a collection agency.

Northrup is suing the university for $150,000, plus punitive damages, interest, attorney’s fee, and the costs of legal action.

According to the complaint filed on September 20, 2002, “Northeastern was motivated to retaliate against Northrup for her filing of the suit, for her testimony in the suit, and for the negative public fallout thereby caused to the university.”

“That’s a totally false and unfounded claim,” said Director of University Communications, Ed Klotzbier.

According to Northeastern, the university has no jurisdiction over a Perkins loans as they are federal loans, and therefore handled by the government.

“It’s a federal loan. It’s not a Northeastern matter. It’s the student and the lender; the university has no involvement in a federal matter,” Klotzbier said.

Neither Northrup nor her lawyer could be reached for comment. According to the legal complaint filed by Northrup, “The creditor for the Perkins loan was always and still remains the university, and the debtor, Northrup.”

A court ruling has not yet been reached in the case.

Leave a Reply