An Oxford grad is suing the university because he only got a 2:1
He said their ‘boring’ tuition cost him his first
Welcome to this week’s edition of “you should probably let it go now”, starring Faiz Siddiqui, the Oxford graduate who’s suing his alma mater for a cool £1 million because he only got a 2:1 instead of a first.
Siddiqui claims that his “appallingly bad” and “boring” Oxford tuition cost him his first and robbed him of a good career. He graduated in 2000 from Brasenose College (meaning he’s been holding this grudge for literally 17 years) and trained as a solicitor after uni, but says his life and career have been ruined by not getting a first.
He puts most of the blame on his final year, when he took a course on the specialist subject of Indian imperial history. There he “underachieved significantly” because of “negligent and boring” teaching and staff shortages, which pulled his overall grade down. He told the High Court in London that 13 out of the 15 students in his class got their lowest of joint lowest in the class, and said that this “statistic anomaly showed the standard of teaching was objectively unacceptable”.
Siddiqui claims his 2:1 has dogged him for most of his graduate life, linking his anxiety and depression to “disappointing examination results”. He also claims it’s meant he has a “fundamental inability to hold down any professional day job for any significant length of time”. If he’d got a first as he expected, he claims he would have been able to launch a career in international commercial law in America, but he hasn’t and how he’s bringing a £1 million loss of earnings claim against the uni.
Oxford admits that “circumstances were difficult” in that particular academic year, but argues Siddiqui’s claim is baseless because of the number of years that have passed since he graduated (which seems fair enough). They also say they made allowances to help him at the time, including extensions for papers because of hayfever. No, really.
On the other hand, if Siddiqui’s case is successful it could mean hundreds more legal complaints from students unhappy about teaching, accommodation or university decisions. Last year the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in Higher Education, which was set up to steer students away from taking legal action against their unis, dealt with more than 2000 cases. Michael Charles, of Sinclair Lewis, told the Sunday Times that the increased tuition fees had made students “more likely” to go to court to seek damages.
So maybe taking your “I didn’t pay nine grand for this shit” argument to the courts isn’t the worst idea in the world.