Legal Action over "Mickey Mouse" Degree Prospects Watch

swelshie
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£60k out of court settlement for Pok Wong (£15k + £45k in legal fees)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-a8250441.html

In 2017 The Advertising Standards Authority made six universities remove claims they made in their marketing materials.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41984465

I think the settlement shows the university in question does not want to set a precedent and that currently universities are pushing legal boundaries with some dubious marketing claims.

Of course prospective students should not take marketing material at face value but at the moment I think there is not enough onus on universities to tell the truth about their prospects.

Do you think the current situation in education could be avoided or mitigated through incentivised funding (university fees paid half upfront half post graduation, alongside loan)?. Then universities would have to put their money where their mouth is so to speak and adjust course offerings with changes in the economy, supply+demand, in order to turn a profit.
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999tigger
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(Original post by swelshie)
£60k out of court settlement for Pok Wong (£15k + £45k in legal fees)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-a8250441.html

In 2017 The Advertising Standards Authority made six universities remove claims they made in their marketing materials.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41984465

I think the settlement shows the university in question does not want to set a precedent and that currently universities are pushing legal boundaries with some dubious marketing claims.

Of course prospective students should not take marketing material at face value but at the moment I think there is not enough onus on universities to tell the truth about their prospects.

Do you think the current situation in education could be avoided or mitigated through incentivised funding (university fees paid half upfront half post graduation, alongside loan)?. Then universities would have to put their money where their mouth is so to speak and adjust course offerings with changes in the economy, supply+demand, in order to turn a profit.
Nope that sounds like a stupid idea as the success of a student isnt 100% on them but depends on other factors.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by swelshie)
£60k out of court settlement for Pok Wong (£15k + £45k in legal fees)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-a8250441.html

In 2017 The Advertising Standards Authority made six universities remove claims they made in their marketing materials.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41984465

I think the settlement shows the university in question does not want to set a precedent and that currently universities are pushing legal boundaries with some dubious marketing claims.

Of course prospective students should not take marketing material at face value but at the moment I think there is not enough onus on universities to tell the truth about their prospects.

Do you think the current situation in education could be avoided or mitigated through incentivised funding (university fees paid half upfront half post graduation, alongside loan)?. Then universities would have to put their money where their mouth is so to speak and adjust course offerings with changes in the economy, supply+demand, in order to turn a profit.
I think this is showing the difficulty for institutions with duties of confidentiality litigating in a world where non-disclosure agreements are toxic.

This claim has been settled for £15K plus costs. and that includes a false imprisonment claim which might (or might not) have had some substance to it. In reality to settlement is trivial for the University.

The problem is that £45K in costs have already been run up by the Claimant and that is nowhere near trial yet. I assume the case was being run on a "no win, no fee agreement" possibly because the University was in the cart on the false imprisonment.

So what does the University do:-

1 Fight, win and have an unrecoverable own costs liability of £100-£200K

2 Fight, lose on the false imprisonment, win on the quality of education, pay £15K damages, pay own costs and some of Claimant's costs, say £250K

3 Fight. lose on both matters and be looking at say £300-400K costs

4 Offer 14K for the false imprisonment, £1K for the quality of education; put Claimant's solicitors in the position where if the offer is rejected and Claimant only wins £14K in total she is liable for all the further costs. In other words, put the Claimant's lawyers who are risking their own money on the "no win no fee" in a position where they might win and yet neither they nor they client sees a penny. Rely on the Claimant's lawyers to arm twist her into settling.

In the old days, the offer would have been accompanied by an NDA to stop her mouth. They are no longer flavour of the month, so in return for accepting a settlement that the Claimant no doubt feels is wholly inadequate, she takes revenge in the press.

Assume you are the V-C. What do you do?

Do you send a memo round saying "please don't lock irate graduands in seminar rooms?"
Last edited by nulli tertius; 1 month ago
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swelshie
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Nope that sounds like a stupid idea as the success of a student isnt 100% on them but depends on other factors.
You don't think income should be reflective of employment statistics? Arguably a university has some control over those other factors by choosing who to admit.
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999tigger
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I think this is showing the difficulty for institutions with duties of confidentiality litigating in a world where non-disclosure agreements are toxic.

This claim has been settled for £15K plus costs. and that includes a false imprisonment claim which might (or might not) have had some substance to it. In reality to settlement is trivial for the University.

The problem is that £45K in costs have already been run up by the Claimant and that is nowhere near trial yet. I assume the case was being run on a "no win, no fee agreement" possibly because the University was in the cart on the false imprisonment.

So what does the University do:-

1 Fight, win and have an unrecoverable own costs liability of £100-£200K

2 Fight, lose on the false imprisonment, win on the quality of education, pay £15K damages, pay own costs and some of Claimant's costs, say £250K

3 Fight. lose on both matters and be looking at say £300-400K costs

4 Offer 14K for the false imprisonment, £1K for the quality of education; put Claimant's solicitors in the position where if the offer is rejected and Claimant only wins £14K in total she is liable for all the further costs. In other words, put the Claimant's lawyers who are risking their own money on the "no win no fee" in a position where they might win and yet neither they nor they client sees a penny. Rely on the Claimant's lawyers to arm twist her into settling.

In the old days, the offer would have been accompanied by an NDA to stop her mouth. They are no longer flavour of the month, so in return for accepting a settlement that the Claimant no doubt feels is wholly inadequate, she takes revenge in the press.

Assume you are the V-C. What do you do?

Do you send a memo round saying "please don't lock irate graduands in seminar rooms?"
Thanks nulli. I hadnt realised the case was even still going since she originally started doing the protests.
What was the false imprisonment argument? They wouldnt let her transfer or it is difficulty due to the tier 4?
Shame she didnt do some research or resit her A levels, which if she would have been guided towards if she had posted on TSR.
If the uni was so poor, then why didnt she seek a transfer after year 1 or even before?

I would think she has caused them some reputational damage with her public protests.
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999tigger
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(Original post by swelshie)
You don't think income should be reflective of employment statistics? Arguably a university has some control over those other factors by choosing who to admit.
You go to uni to study. Students responsibility to do research about careers. Quite possible for a student to do poorly at A level and then much better at uni.
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fallen_acorns
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I don't like the idea of incentivized funding..

but I am happy that things are being done about universities being deliberately vague about their students prospects.

I have a friend who is a photography lecturer.. at the pub I asked him what he thought the percentage was of students in his university department that would actually become photographers.. he said that 1-2% was optimistic.

I have seen, as someone who used to work open days at unis, so many people mislead parents by deliberately confusing the following stats:

1, Graduate employment % (grad with any job)
2, Graduate level employment % (grad with any job that requires a degree)
3, Graduates working in relevant fields (grad with a job directly related to their course, e.g. photography student becoming a photographer)

The typical thing I have seen is converastions like this:

(mum): So, what are the chances that my son will become a musician after studying here?
(lecturer): Well, our gradutate employment rate is 90%
(mum): wow, thats impressive!

if your lucky the mum or the student pushes a bit further and they are told the graduate level employment rate, especially if its good... but rarely will they ever be told the 3rd rate, because for many many creative and 'mickey mouse' courses its shockingly low. Con artist level low.

Obviously they justify this by saying that its not about being vocatioanl and training for a career.. many students do it for the passion of learning! *******s.

There is a self-serving industry within the creative departments at universities. Its lead by professors and lecturers who like their cosy pay-check.. its much safer then actually risking it out in the creative field, and makes them respected in society rather then being a struggling creative... but to keep their pay-check going they need to constantly funnel enough students in to justify their deparments existance, and to do that they take on far far more students that the industry can actually accomodate, and teach them in 'academic' ways that have nothing to do with how the industry actually works. The only ones who bennifit are the university workers, not the students at large.

(Obviously there are exceptions to this, and there are some great departments for all creative and mickey mouse subjects.. they are just the exceptions rather then the rule in my experiance)
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Andrew97
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Not sure about this, I don’t like the precedent it would set.
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fallen_acorns
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Its also worth saying that universities should expect this to happen more and more.

They are increasingly treating students like customers.. and customers want what they pay for. If a customer doesn't get what they pay for, they complain..

If you have free or very low-cost university education, then you can do what you like.. but when you expect people to pay so much, and you create an unlimited and open market place where universities compete for the finite number of students like sellers in a market-place.. this is the atmosphere your going to create.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Thanks nulli. I hadnt realised the case was even still going since she originally started doing the protests.
What was the false imprisonment argument? They wouldnt let her transfer or it is difficulty due to the tier 4?
Shame she didnt do some research or resit her A levels, which if she would have been guided towards if she had posted on TSR.
If the uni was so poor, then why didnt she seek a transfer after year 1 or even before?

I would think she has caused them some reputational damage with her public protests.
She was going to cause a scene at her graduation as a protest. She alleges they locked her in a room to prevent that.

"“The defendant’s security staff, for who the defendant was and is vicariously liable, escorted the claimant from the hall and placed her in a locked room."

Laying emphasis on that in the press doesn't now suit the Claimant's agenda but if I was the University's advisers, this would be worrying me more than alleged fraudulent misrepresentation.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
Its also worth saying that universities should expect this to happen more and more.
Private schools have been very robust and successful at defending poor education cases. They may lose abuse and bullying cases but not poor teaching ones, despite articulate parents using such arguments regularly (most schools will face more than one a year) to try and defeat unpaid fee claims.
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999tigger
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
She was going to cause a scene at her graduation as a protest. She alleges they locked her in a room to prevent that.

"“The defendant’s security staff, for who the defendant was and is vicariously liable, escorted the claimant from the hall and placed her in a locked room."

Laying emphasis on that in the press doesn't now suit the Claimant's agenda but if I was the University's advisers, this would be worrying me more than alleged fraudulent misrepresentation.
Thanks. Never heard of that bit. I am still a bit mystified if it was so poor why she didnt move after year 1. She is obviously bright, so completing if it was so poor doesnt make sense.

I expect they have never had such protest before. I would have thought they would have escorted her off their premises or called the police. Its a shame for her that this is still going on as she cant get that time back.
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returnmigrant
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The idea that a University education is solely to garner 'higher earnings' is not to be encouraged.

Going to University is about far, far more than that.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Thanks. Never heard of that bit. I am still a bit mystified if it was so poor why she didnt move after year 1. She is obviously bright, so completing if it was so poor doesnt make sense.

I expect they have never had such protest before. I would have thought they would have escorted her off their premises or called the police. Its a shame for her that this is still going on as she cant get that time back.
Plenty of people have stuck out far worse then she is complaining about (which is actually pretty minor stuff) at Edinburgh. Manchester, Bristol and LSE.

The problem is that her real complaint is not about the quality of the course but that the best degree possible from ARU in her subject added no value to her in the market she wanted to operate in, but there is no cause of action for that.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
The idea that a University education is solely to garner 'higher earnings' is not to be encouraged.

Going to University is about far, far more than that.
And Ibiza is a world heritage site.
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999tigger
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Plenty of people have stuck out far worse then she is complaining about (which is actually pretty minor stuff) at Edinburgh. Manchester, Bristol and LSE.

The problem is that her real complaint is not about the quality of the course but that the best degree possible from ARU in her subject added no value to her in the market she wanted to operate in, but there is no cause of action for that.
Again it is tragic she didnt do some research or make some decisions when she realised where she was heading.
Hope you are well. Hardly see you around these days.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by swelshie)
£60k out of court settlement for Pok Wong (£15k + £45k in legal fees)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-a8250441.html

In 2017 The Advertising Standards Authority made six universities remove claims they made in their marketing materials.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-41984465

I think the settlement shows the university in question does not want to set a precedent and that currently universities are pushing legal boundaries with some dubious marketing claims.

Of course prospective students should not take marketing material at face value but at the moment I think there is not enough onus on universities to tell the truth about their prospects.

Do you think the current situation in education could be avoided or mitigated through incentivised funding (university fees paid half upfront half post graduation, alongside loan)?. Then universities would have to put their money where their mouth is so to speak and adjust course offerings with changes in the economy, supply+demand, in order to turn a profit.
It is not that she won, it is the fact that the university was running up costs. They just paid her off to go away. Happens in the NHS too - many complainants get given money despite not really having a case to answer, because it is cheaper than all the legal fees.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Again it is tragic she didnt do some research or make some decisions when she realised where she was heading.
Hope you are well. Hardly see you around these days.
Yes I am thank you after some issues last year.

A lot of Asian parents use agents in connection with university admissions but it is often unclear for whom they are really acting.
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returnmigrant
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(Original post by nulli tertius)

A lot of Asian parents use agents in connection with university admissions but it is often unclear for whom they are really acting.
They are all working on commission.
And some Universities pay them more than others.
It really is that simple.
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swelshie
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Interesting that BBC now reporting the settlement decision was taken by ARU's insurer's solicitors, adding: "We consider that they acted negligently and against the university's interests."
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