Caveat Emptor

A graduate is suing her university, claiming boasts in its prospectus about high quality teaching and excellent career prospects were fraudulently misleading after she ended up with a “mickey mouse” degree.

Pok Wong, 29, is seeking more than £60,000 in damages from Anglia Ruskin University for what she says was a breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation.

But it is a mickey mouse degree……

50 comments on “Caveat Emptor

  1. If the silly cow does succeed legally it could throw a spoke in CM’s wheel.

    Which is why all the stops will be pulled out to ensure she doesn’t.

  2. How long can it be before some disaffected neolabrador initiates proceedings against Capt. Potato’s ivory tower?

  3. Also –copied from Contins in case it is lost in the ever-moving throng over there:

    “Mr Ecks March 11, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Tim–Twatty is just using Contins to reprint Murph’s shite.

    I would normally–ie on the proper blog– enjoy fisking the shit out of the both the idiots. I started on yesterday’s Murphbollocks but –one third of the way thro’–trying to get rid of one of Contins POS pop-ups caused me to delete the lot. I have deleted stuff on the old blog many times thro’ my own mistake and always started again but I don’t like this ADD mess over here and I am not inclined to do so.

    I suggest that you remove from Twatty’s postings anything that his not his original words. That will stop the Spud reprint ploy and still leave The Twat to be savaged at a much smaller word count.

    I urge you again not to neglect the blog. You could copy and paste that debate over here at no cost without all the choicest morsels going to Contins all the time. Leave a link to the blog for any over here who are inspired to comment from here and build both brands. Other contributions on Contins IS a good idea.”

  4. One of the reasons for making students pay for their own education was that they would be more invested and drive up quality.

    The only surprise here is that its taken so long for this to happen.

  5. I wish the young lady luck- as Ecks implies she’ll sure need it.
    Its high time universities were forced to be honest in their prospecti.
    It would be nice if schools were stopped from pushing university as the only path forward.
    Since most graduates never earn enough to pay off their loans then clearly their degrees weren’t worthwhile. And likely some of those who do earn enough would have done so anyway.

  6. When I was a fresher we drove an incompetent lecturer out of a physics lecture theatre by hurling stuff at him. A different lecturer turned up to deliver the rest of his course. A fine survival, I thought, of a robustly healthy 19th century attitude. Amusingly, my brother had the same experience. (And about fifteen years later I heard about a fresher Engineering Science class who similarly dismissed a Professor from their presence by chucking tomatoes at him. He too was replaced.)

    Things were quieter in fresher Chemistry though I did once have to publicly instruct a Reader in his lab class that he should stop being a bloody fool.

    My fresher Maths class was an altogether more refined affair. They lectured, we listened, and in tutorials found them to be competent and encouraging. We liked them.

    Suing after the event? Pah!

  7. I should add that there it was an invigorating experience to be in a 19th century lecture theatre with a bare wooden floor while 300 freshers stamped out their disapproval. Advice to lecturers: flee when the stamping starts, do not wait for the shower of missiles.

  8. Good luck to her. Ideally, we should get rid of about 75% of all universities, free up the land for productive use, free up the students to do something worthwhile instead, and let the academic staff find work at Frankie & Benny’s.

    Our entire system of cargo cult education is a monumental misallocation of resources based on perverse incentives created by government funny money and obsolete cultural perceptions about the value of a degree.

    The fundamentally 19th century model of HE – hordes of people physically travelling to expensive urban locations just to hear somebody talk at them – is also overdue technological disruption. The OU got it right as far back as 1969.

    There’s no good reason why students in 2018 can’t use digital collaboration platforms to learn from subject matter experts across the world. Who needs a third-rate lecturer at a fourth-rate university?

  9. I can’t work out if the Times doesn’t understand Chinese names or not. In one part they call her Fiona Wong and in another part Pok Wong. Pok is more likely to be a surname than a given name, but Wong is also a surname, so it looks like her name is actually Fiona Pok Wong in the Hong Kong style or Fiona Pok-Wong in the Taiwanese style.

  10. Meanwhile, what’s happened to the Continental Telegraph?
    I just get a white window on Safari and Chrome…

  11. Suing Anglia Ruskin for giving you a Mickey Mouse degree is like suing Dacia for not giving you a BMW.

    >One of the reasons for making students pay for their own education was that they would be more invested and drive up quality.

    Yes, but that doesn’t happen through the courts compensating you for your own poor judgement.

    >Its high time universities were forced to be honest in their prospecti.

    But part of the problem stems from the government’s push to get departments to talk about careers in their “prospecti”, something which academics know nothing about. And in most cases there simply aren’t any relevant statistics for that department anyway. I prefer the old days where the department just taught their subject, the propsectus talked about that subject, and students made up their own minds about whether or not to do that subject in that department.

  12. Suing Anglia Ruskin for giving you a Mickey Mouse degree is like suing Dacia for not giving you a BMW.

    I think it’s more like Dacia promising to provide a car with seats and an engine and the vehicle is delivered without seats and engine. Eg City Uni has a lecturer in political economy who freely admits to not having completed his formal studies of economics and shares his ignorance of the subject many times a day

  13. MA Science Fiction and Fantasy

    I looked it up. It’s not as much fun as it sounds.

    The bumf claims the course is for working professionals who will develop knowledge useful for a career, which seems unlikely. Far more suitable as a hobby qualification for a retired geek.

  14. Not so much a BMW or Dacia but ordered a clown car then complained she actually wanted the BMW.

  15. Dear Mr Worstall

    Third rate universities for third rate students taught by third rate lecturers giving third rate degrees.

    I saw the front page of The Times a week or so back announcing the government were going to interfere with the running of universities because of their poor quality and high salaries.

    Presumably this means all universities, not just the crap ones, so bringing Oxford, Cambridge and all the other centuries-old universities into the government’s maw.

    So, job done then.

    Just what you’d expect with Corbyn as PM.

    Er, hang on …

    DP

  16. Is an MA Science Fiction and Fantasy from Anglia Ruskin the equivalent to a PPE from Oxbridge? They cover much the same subject matter.

  17. @dearieme, March 11, 2018 at 11:26 am

    When I was a fresher we drove an incompetent lecturer out of a physics lecture theatre by hurling stuff at him. A different lecturer turned up to deliver the rest of his course.

    We too had a rubbish lecturer. His lectures consisted of copying from a text book (covered in brown paper) to blackboard for us to copy onto paper. He refused to tell us title and author.

    Our solution was a rota of 5 would attend, we’d then photocopy their notes.

    He complained to Dept head. She implored us to attend as it was “hurting his feelings”. We refused.

    When we returned for second year he was gone.

  18. I’d say it’s more like being sold a Porsche 911.

    You buy and what’s delivered is a re-badged VW Beetle.

    I hope she wins and Uni’s stop misleading potential students.

  19. Hector,

    “>One of the reasons for making students pay for their own education was that they would be more invested and drive up quality.

    Yes, but that doesn’t happen through the courts compensating you for your own poor judgement.”

    I’m well aware of the title of this thread and generally in agreement, but consumers do need some protection and access to courts otherwise we’d spend all out time and money carrying our due diligence whenever we make a purchase.

    When I’m buying a house the owners makes some factual claim but there are many things they don’t tell us, hence the need to get surveys. Caveat emptor is quite reasonable in those circumstances because a claim hasn’t been made.

    If a car maker claims that their cars meet certain pollution standards with a given MPG should I be expected to do my own DD or should I be able to take them at their word and if the claim is false sue them?

    I think we have a grey area here with the university making a number of claims. I haven’t read the prospectus but unless its couched in suitable vague terms she may well have a good claim. What’s the problem in letting the courts decide, it may even be the start of some new case law, (Perhaps Edward has a view on that subject?)

    Even if she loses its likely to bring a little sanity to the subject and stop universities hyping their benefits on the basis that next time they may lose and it should also make students (their parents really) a bit more streetwise.

  20. Pcar said:
    “We too had a rubbish lecturer … Our solution was a rota of 5 would attend, we’d then photocopy their notes.”

    We had the rota system for a particularly bad lecturer, but we didn’t bother taking notes. We only had the rota because he could cancel the rest of the course if attendance ever dropped below 5, so we made the useless sod keep going for the whole year.

  21. Bloke in North Dorset said:
    “One of the reasons for making students pay for their own education was that they would be more invested and drive up quality.”

    Yes, it hasn’t worked very well. I think the problem is the automatic loans, and the salary threshold for repayments, means they don’t really see it as a cost.

    Worse, for those doing hobby degrees and planning low-earning hobby jobs, it really isn’t a cost.

  22. Who needs a third-rate lecturer at a fourth-rate university?

    The third-rate lecturer and the fourth-rate university.

  23. How much does the taxpayer fork out for higher education?

    I started googling this but then got on to an article in the Times Higher Education Supplement, which noted:

    the UK is one of the few countries where young people have no better skills than older cohorts

    So that confirms that sending half the kids to university has achieved the square root of fuck all. And it also suggests that 40 years of the leftist blob ruling the schools hasn’t done us the power of good.

  24. His lectures consisted of copying from a text book (covered in brown paper) to blackboard for us to copy onto paper. He refused to tell us title and author.

    Lectures can be defined a means by which information is transferred from the textbook of a lecturer to the notebook of a student without passing through the brain of either.

  25. @ dearieme
    How uncivilised!
    When I was 9, the second-brightest boy in the form and I got rid of an incompetent History teacher by mugging up the subject before each lesson and pointing out his mistakes in class with the rest of the form listening. He didn’t come back next term and we got a really good teacher instead. [OK, I have no knowledge of what happened when he was teaching other forms, so it might not have been *just* down to us but we thought that it was]

  26. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/07/business/dealbook/court-to-hear-suit-accusing-law-school-of-inflating-job-data.html

    Other disgruntled students have tried to do the same. In the last several years, 15 lawsuits have sought to hold various law schools accountable for publicly listing information critics say was used to pump up alumni job numbers by counting part-time waitress and other similar, full-time jobs as employment. Only one suit besides Ms. Alaburda’s remains active.

    Not unique to the UK.

    she lost
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/business/dealbook/law-graduate-who-sued-her-school-loses-at-trial.html?action=click&contentCollection=DealBook&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article

  27. Ken, are those jobs not employment?

    I used to know a guy in Lancashire, he had a 1st in Economics from a great university.
    He loved being a security guard.

    He had to not list his qualification on application forms or else couldn’t be shortlisted for interview. He always informed his employers after a few weeks of the missing information.
    To him it was a dream job, he enjoyed it and didn’t have the pressure, travel or responsibilities of his contemporaries from university. This was back in the early 80s he got it. From a place called Oxford.

    Was he employed? He thought so.

  28. @Solid Steve 2 .Found myself in complete agreement with your argument. This is the first time this has happened on this blog.Must indicate that your view that university education is long overdue some serious technological disruption is not shared by many ( English) people .

  29. SS2,

    I fairly recently finished an MA from Staffordshire University. Cost me just off four thousand pounds for three years’ study, including course textbooks (three or so per module, but fairly niche publications), JSTOR access, and all the tuition, tutorials and marking.

    Entirely done in spare time while working full-time, never went within a hundred miles of Stoke, it was all online: discussion of weekly topics and postings, submission of assignments, the lot.

    Interesting (subject was Intelligence and International Relations), challenging, and I felt it was good enough value that I paid for it myself. You did have to be prepared to work, and to be self-motivated, and to forego the luxury of campus life… but in terms of value for money it’s hard to fault.

    Is it the future? I could see it becoming increasingly popular for some subjects…

  30. Martin
    The point being that the universities were claiming that their employment stats for lawyers was better was the nub of the claims.

    caveat emptor indeed.

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