Students in a tax law course at the University of Copenhagen now have limited rights to freedom of speech after a teacher sued one of his students.
Kristian Hegaard, 25, addressed legitimate concerns about his law lecturer’s teaching in a privately written letter to the head of his course. Now, he is slammed with a lawsuit from his instructor, the Independent reports.
“I sent the complaint to this one person,” Hegaard said. "For example, I wrote: ‘The teaching is a mess’ and he seemed to be unprepared-and does not bring notes.”
Michael Bjorn Hansen, his lecturer, sued Hegaard for libel, stating that his accusations are untrue, and that it caused him “moral damage.”
“I had written a normal complaint, so I was very surprised by the reaction,” the student said. “It’s him who started this whole case, all the big fireworks. It is he who has wished that there should be a trial.”
He is also reportedly suing the student to prevent other students from complaining about him and that the lawsuit is a “matter of principle.”
“The key is that there is a complaint of false and thus a very unpleasant matter for me,” Hansen told Universities Avisen, a Danish student website.
The 25-year-old is involved with Danish politics and the college employee said that his political involvement is one of the reasons he decided to sue him.
“I would never have raised a lawsuit if the complaint came from a normal student,” Hansen said.
Hegaard could pay $300 in damages if found guilty of libel by the Elsinore District Court next month.
The University of Copenhagen has declined to comment about the ongoing lawsuit case.
Students—no matter what age—should also be allowed to share their concerns of a teacher’s performance, in spite of how upset a lecturer may feel of the complaints.
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