From Classroom to CourtroomBlogs
Many argue that the Western world has proceeded into a "sue culture" where everyone is to blame but ourselves and we seek compensation even for undesirable events that were a consequence of only our own reckless behaviour. This has surely peaked in the UK this week when a graduate decided to take legal action against his university for giving him a 2:2 degree. According to Mr Croskery he would have received a 2:1 in electrical engineering had he "received better supervision" from Queen's University Belfast. Furthermore, this, he claims, is a breach of his human rights. Maybe the money he is now shelling out on a barrister would have been better spent on a tutor. This does however, raise the question of to what extent are universities responsible for their students' performance. It seems to me that the best way to draw the line is to say that a university must supply the service that it advertises and that is reasonably expected from a higher education establishment. This would mean that if Queen's had repeatedly pulled lectures, the electrical engineering teacher was never available to give advice or educational guidance and they didn't provide information on the course then maybe Mr Croskery would have a case. But we all know that that was not and is not the case - as one of the top ranking universities in the UK, everyone else seems very satisfied with QUB's level of service; indeed student satisfaction is one of the influential elements in most university league tables. It's clear that our disgruntled friend has got less than a snowman's chance in hell of winning his case, even if it does get to court - which it won't. In addition to that he's really shot himself in the foot; employers will often Google candidates' names as a quick background check. Usually this presents a limited Facebook profile and nothing more, however the term "Croskery Queen's" will now fill an electrical engineer employer's internet browser with hundreds of lovely articles demonstrating not only the candidate's dissatisfaction with his own performance but that he decided to turn the blame for this on others...and by "others" I mean an entire 161 year old educational institution - which doesn't look too good on a job application.