Is there a reason why I should not resign from membership (MA) of the university?

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aardvarkgiraffe
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For some years, I've been weighing up whether to resign from membership of the university, which, in my case, would mean resigning the degree of Master of Arts to which I was admitted. It's been on my mind on and off that I should do this, but I feel increasingly that it's the right thing to do.

I always sort of knew that going to Oxford was a bad idea, although, at the same time, I had been persuaded over the years that going to Oxford or Cambridge was the be all and end all of life - or at least the first 18 years of it. After getting my offer, I thought seriously about turning it down, but I was persuaded that I should go. When I got my offer, people were congratulating me all over the place.

As things turned out, I went to Oxford and absolutely hated it from start to finish.

A few years ago, I was told that I didn't get into Oxford on my own merits, but that somebody had somehow arranged it for me behind the scenes without my knowledge. Unfortunately, the person concerned is now dead and suffered from dementia before he died. I'm going to try to get to the bottom of what went on, but so far I am just coming up against brick walls, as nobody wants to admit that there was corruption in the admissions process.

I'm thinking that the best thing to do is just to resign my membership of the university and be free of it. As it is, I consider my degree from Oxford to be worth absolutely nothing anyway. Actually, I consider it to be worth less than nothing. It's like an albatross.

What I am wondering is whether there is any good reason why I should not resign my MA. It would have the effect that I would no longer be a matriculated member of the university and I would no longer be an Oxford graduate. I would no longer have an Oxford degree. I would lose the right to describe myself as "MA (Oxford)", I would lose the right to wear the academic dress of an Oxford degree, I would lose the right to vote for the chancellor of the university and the professor of poetry, I would lose the automatic right to use the Bodleian Library, and I would lose the right to attend lectures. The right to use the Bodleian is useful, but I could apply for a reader's card as an ordinary member of the public. In reality, I don't think that many Oxford graduates exercise the famous right to attend lectures.

So, is there any good reason why I should not give up my degree?
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OxFossil
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(Original post by aardvarkgiraffe)
For some years, I've been weighing up whether to resign from membership of the university, which, in my case, would mean resigning the degree of Master of Arts to which I was admitted. It's been on my mind on and off that I should do this, but I feel increasingly that it's the right thing to do.

I always sort of knew that going to Oxford was a bad idea, although, at the same time, I had been persuaded over the years that going to Oxford or Cambridge was the be all and end all of life - or at least the first 18 years of it. After getting my offer, I thought seriously about turning it down, but I was persuaded that I should go. When I got my offer, people were congratulating me all over the place.

As things turned out, I went to Oxford and absolutely hated it from start to finish.

A few years ago, I was told that I didn't get into Oxford on my own merits, but that somebody had somehow arranged it for me behind the scenes without my knowledge. Unfortunately, the person concerned is now dead and suffered from dementia before he died. I'm going to try to get to the bottom of what went on, but so far I am just coming up against brick walls, as nobody wants to admit that there was corruption in the admissions process.

I'm thinking that the best thing to do is just to resign my membership of the university and be free of it. As it is, I consider my degree from Oxford to be worth absolutely nothing anyway. Actually, I consider it to be worth less than nothing. It's like an albatross.

What I am wondering is whether there is any good reason why I should not resign my MA. It would have the effect that I would no longer be a matriculated member of the university and I would no longer be an Oxford graduate. I would no longer have an Oxford degree. I would lose the right to describe myself as "MA (Oxford)", I would lose the right to wear the academic dress of an Oxford degree, I would lose the right to vote for the chancellor of the university and the professor of poetry, I would lose the automatic right to use the Bodleian Library, and I would lose the right to attend lectures. The right to use the Bodleian is useful, but I could apply for a reader's card as an ordinary member of the public. In reality, I don't think that many Oxford graduates exercise the famous right to attend lectures.

So, is there any good reason why I should not give up my degree?
I may have this quite wrong, but my understanding is that although I am entitled to claim the bogus MA from Oxford by virtue of my "seniority", it still requires me to apply for it and pay a fee. Since I have never done this, and have no intention of doing so, I have remained a mere BA (Hons) (Oxon). If that's right, you have applied for this status and are now regretting it?

Otherwise, I wonder why you consider these remnants of your past at Oxford an "albatross"? What exactly do you want to "be free" of? No-one is forcing you to vote for the Professor of Poetry. No-one requires you to disclose your status as a MA (Oxon). So why is the whole business absorbing your energy? Does anyone else care? I raise these questions not to get you to disclose stuff you'd rather not share, but because it might help you answer your own primary question - i.e. why you are fretting about "resigning" the MA? Would it be possible to move on with your life without trying to erase or redo the past?
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aardvarkgiraffe
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(Original post by OxFossil)
I may have this quite wrong, but my understanding is that although I am entitled to claim the bogus MA from Oxford by virtue of my "seniority", it still requires me to apply for it and pay a fee. Since I have never done this, and have no intention of doing so, I have remained a mere BA (Hons) (Oxon). If that's right, you have applied for this status and are now regretting it?

Otherwise, I wonder why you consider these remnants of your past at Oxford an "albatross"? What exactly do you want to "be free" of? No-one is forcing you to vote for the Professor of Poetry. No-one requires you to disclose your status as a MA (Oxon). So why is the whole business absorbing your energy? Does anyone else care? I raise these questions not to get you to disclose stuff you'd rather not share, but because it might help you answer your own primary question - i.e. why you are fretting about "resigning" the MA? Would it be possible to move on with your life without trying to erase or redo the past?
Thanks for your reply.

Sorry if this wasn't clear, but it's not the MA that bothers me, but just having an Oxford degree at all. The way the university statutes are worded, it is the case that if you resign from membership of the university, you lose any degrees that you hold at the point of resignation. In my case, that degree would be the MA. When you take the MA, you are promoted from being a "bachelor in the faculty of arts" to a "master in the faculty of arts", so I simply no longer have a BA degree to hand back. If I'd thought to do this before getting the MA, I'd being handing back the BA instead.

The impetus for wanting to resign my degree was the discovery that I did not earn it, but, rather, my place at Oxford was seemingly obtained for me by some kind of corruption in the admissions process. Furthermore, the person who was responsible for my fraudulent admission to the university was later revealed to have been a sex offender. Therefore, the whole episode now seems highly distasteful.

I suppose my reason for wanting to get rid of my degree is at least partly because I know how much it means to other people. When I was at school, we actually didn't have any teachers from Oxford, but we did have quite a few who were BA (Cantab), MA (Cantab), and even MA PhD (Cantab), and teachers who had gone to what were perceived to have been lesser universities used to fawn over them. I was singled out in my first year at secondary school as a future Oxbridge candidate. Indeed, my tutor recommended that I should begin choosing my college when I was 12! In 6th form, one boy who failed to get into Oxford created a series of websites on which he posted abusive material about boys who had got in, such was his distress at having failed to get a place. The mother of another boy who was not deemed Oxbridge material made an abusive phone call to my mother when I got in, such was her resentment that her son was not going to Oxford or Cambridge. People were horrified when it became known that I was seriously considering turning down a place at Oxford.

Therefore, I would find it particularly satisfying to get rid of something which I was made to believe was the most valuable thing that I could achieve and which was clearly jealously coveted by those who didn't achieve it. It would also be a way of signalling to the university the contempt in which I hold it, and would serve as a protest against the corrupt way in which they offered me a place. The fact is that doing an Oxford degree is not easy, and letting somebody in who is not up to the academic standard is not doing them a favour, but actually terribly unfair.

Thus, all that really remains to be determined is whether there is any good reason why I should not do this. Is there anything that I lose by stripping myself of my degree?
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chlamydia9000
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What an usual post. If some shadowy sex offender used his masonic connections to get you a place, you still put the work in passed the assessments and earned the degree. I'm sure there's plenty of other witchcraft, snobbery and corruption at other unis. Relax.
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OxFossil
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(Original post by aardvarkgiraffe)
Thanks for your reply.

Sorry if this wasn't clear, but it's not the MA that bothers me, but just having an Oxford degree at all. The way the university statutes are worded, it is the case that if you resign from membership of the university, you lose any degrees that you hold at the point of resignation. In my case, that degree would be the MA. When you take the MA, you are promoted from being a "bachelor in the faculty of arts" to a "master in the faculty of arts", so I simply no longer have a BA degree to hand back. If I'd thought to do this before getting the MA, I'd being handing back the BA instead.

The impetus for wanting to resign my degree was the discovery that I did not earn it, but, rather, my place at Oxford was seemingly obtained for me by some kind of corruption in the admissions process. Furthermore, the person who was responsible for my fraudulent admission to the university was later revealed to have been a sex offender. Therefore, the whole episode now seems highly distasteful.

I suppose my reason for wanting to get rid of my degree is at least partly because I know how much it means to other people. When I was at school, we actually didn't have any teachers from Oxford, but we did have quite a few who were BA (Cantab), MA (Cantab), and even MA PhD (Cantab), and teachers who had gone to what were perceived to have been lesser universities used to fawn over them. I was singled out in my first year at secondary school as a future Oxbridge candidate. Indeed, my tutor recommended that I should begin choosing my college when I was 12! In 6th form, one boy who failed to get into Oxford created a series of websites on which he posted abusive material about boys who had got in, such was his distress at having failed to get a place. The mother of another boy who was not deemed Oxbridge material made an abusive phone call to my mother when I got in, such was her resentment that her son was not going to Oxford or Cambridge. People were horrified when it became known that I was seriously considering turning down a place at Oxford.

Therefore, I would find it particularly satisfying to get rid of something which I was made to believe was the most valuable thing that I could achieve and which was clearly jealously coveted by those who didn't achieve it. It would also be a way of signalling to the university the contempt in which I hold it, and would serve as a protest against the corrupt way in which they offered me a place. The fact is that doing an Oxford degree is not easy, and letting somebody in who is not up to the academic standard is not doing them a favour, but actually terribly unfair.

Thus, all that really remains to be determined is whether there is any good reason why I should not do this. Is there anything that I lose by stripping myself of my degree?
Thanks. I'm not going to try and persuade you against making some kind of protest if you feel that strongly.

I'm wondering about how far the essentially beaureacratic procedure of rejecting your "membership" of Oxford would work, from the pov of your emotional well-being. I too had a rough time at Oxford, and for years afterwards avoided associating myself with it. But the experience of being there will always remain part of my life. Pretending it wasn't, or elaborating some alternative personal history seemed like a perverse way of reactivating and extending those negative experiences. That I got an Oxford degree remained a fact, but the only time it had any practical impact in those later years was when I wrote job applications - and as far as I know, no personnel department ever rang the University up to check my certificate was genuine. If I was ever in a situation where I had to talk about what I did between the ages of 18 and 21, I was pretty much obliged to "own up" to Oxford, or else become a liar. In any other situation in life, I was not obliged to say anything about it at all.

So you do whatever you feel is needed. But there may be more effective ways of dealing with the emotional residue of your experience. Why not make a donation to a charity that helps children who survived sexual abuse, for example? Or do a standing order to an anti-corruption campaign?! Then you could feel like something good has come from it all?
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