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Call Kurtis: School Trip Called Off

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A group of culinary students say their school promised a trip to Europe after graduation. When The Institute of Technology called off the trip at the last minute, the students called Kurtis.

The trip wasn’t part of their written contract. So is an oral promise enforceable?

Tamela Young, Ashley Lassiter, Tavis Fiscel and Samantha Hardy are hoping to cook up new careers.

“My biggest ambition is to own my own catering business,” said Young.

But they say The Institute of Technology, served them up a cold dish of disappointment, after calling off a trip to Germany and France.

“No apologies or anything. Just deal with it. You’re not going,” said Young.

They say it was something school representatives told them was part of their $30,892 Culinary Arts Professional Program.

“We were told day one that you sign up for a CAP AOS extended program, you graduate, you go to Europe,” said Fiscel.

He, Young and Hardy graduated from the 15-month program. But soon after, the Europe trip was called off, with The Institute of Technology citing safety concerns and the economic climate in Europe. Instead, they were told they would go to an undetermined place in the United States.

“Then the last minute they take it away. That’s a lot of time looking forward to that and to have it snatched out of your face. It’s just… that’s harsh,” said Hardy.

“It was an important inducement to get them to sign a $30,000 plus contract,” said attorney Chris Lee.

Lee says even if the students don’t have the Europe trip in writing, a verbal promise is still a promise.

“When somebody 15 months later changed the rules on them, they had the right to enforce the promises made prior to the contract,” said Lee.

After we contacted BrightStar education group, which owns The Institute of Technology, they quickly changed their mind, saying:

We have learned that although Institute of Technology will no longer offer the European experience to graduates, our Clovis, California location has the last group of graduates from their school making the last European trip our company will offer and there is space to accommodate the Citrus Heights graduates that wish to make the trip with our Clovis campus.

But we’ve learned the school only had room for five more students. Fiscel did not make the cut, and instead will go on a trip to Seattle. Young and Hardy will get to go to Europe, but they wonder what would’ve happened if they didn’t speak up.

“If we had to go through all of this just to get that trip that’s rightfully ours, I don’t know if I would trust them after that,” said Hardy.

Fiscel is not satisfied with just a trip to Seattle. He says it’s not fair some grads get to go on a longer trip to Europe, while others will spend just five days in Seattle. BrightStar education says they have the right to change the destination.

BrightStar Education’s Statements to CBS13:

The College began offering the option to attend the trip to graduates of the Culinary Arts Professional program in 2009. One trip to Europe was offered the first year. Three separate trips were offered in 2010 and 2011. Non-graduates were not eligible to exercise the option to make the European trip.

The option to attend the trip was never included in the tuition for the program. The College pays for the trip.

The cost of the European experience was not included in the graduate’s tuition and the College has always retained the right to change the destination of the trip when circumstances warrant it, so there is no basis for compensating graduates because of a change in destination. The European experience was an option graduates of our Culinary Arts Professional program could choose to exercise with one year of graduation if they were inclined to do so.

BrightStar Education Group, which owns and operates Institute of Technology in California, decided to offer a trip to a location in the United States instead of Europe because of a very real concern for the safety of Institute of Technology graduates and staff, and because of the recession that has affected both the U. S. and European economies. BrightStar believes this change of destination will maintain the safety of graduates and staff and demonstrates the most responsible use of the financial resources available to provide the experience to Institute of Technology graduates. Recent attacks on U. S. Embassies and citizens overseas are demonstrative of the need to be sensitive to overseas travel at the present time.

We have learned that although Institute of Technology will no longer offer the European experience to graduates, our Clovis, California location has the last group of graduates from their school making the last European trip our company will offer and there is space to accommodate the Citrus Heights graduates that wish to make the trip with our Clovis campus. The Citrus Heights campus staff will be reaching out to those graduates with this information and the details of the trip before the end of this week.

Students that enrolled before March 2011 and graduated will have the opportunity to attend a trip (either European or stateside). Our last trip to Europe was slated to happen in January 2013 (for our Clovis school). We have decided to move the experience to the states for security and economic conditions for all students who aren’t attending that final European trip. Due to a few extra slots that opened up open we have offered them to the 5 students that had signed up in the summer at our CH campus.

The trips that we will do, besides the January European trip, will only be domestic. These trips are not available to anyone that started after March 2011.

We had just recently identified open slots for the January trip and wanted to take the people that had originally signed up for the trip in the summer. The College continues to keep the best interest of students and graduates upper most in mind in all interactions.

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