An international graduate from Hong Kong is suing Anglia Ruskin University for £60,000 (US$83,700) because she is yet to find a “rewarding job with prospects” despite obtaining a first-class degree.
Pok Wong – or Fiona Pok as she also goes by – graduated from Anglia Ruskin in the United Kingdom with a degree in International Business Strategy Management in 2013 but claims she didn’t get what she paid for.
The 29-year-old is demanding the money as she claims the university breached its contract and misrepresented itself. Wong claimed she was persuaded to move to Cambridge in the UK due to claims in the prospectus about a “quality education and prospect of employment after graduation”.
“Since graduating … it has been proven that the degree … does not play a role to help secure a rewarding job with prospects”.
Wong used the term “Mickey Mouse degree” when lodging her complaint, which commonly refers to degrees considered to be worthless.
The legal papers claim the prospectus promised a “high quality of teaching” which would ensure graduates were “well equipped” for jobs in the business sector. Despite this, Wong is yet to secure a position with which she is happy.
— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) March 12, 2018
After complaining to the university for six years with little results, she felt the only way forward was to take the case to court. She is asking to be awarded damages and a refund of her tuition fees and living costs spent during her time at university.
“The prospectus convinced me that the university was really impressive. But, as soon as I started in 2011, I realised there were failings,” Wong told The Telegraph.
An ‘International Business Strategy’ graduate is trying to sue her university, claiming she was misled over her "Mickey Mouse" degree.
Do you sympathise with students who feel they’re not getting value for money? pic.twitter.com/Likh1txI9y
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) March 11, 2018
The graduate is also claiming she was falsely imprisoned by security staff employed by Anglia Ruskin at her graduation ceremony where she was “locked” in a room. After several complaints lodged to the university about the quality of her course, Wong attempted to stage a protest during her graduation ceremony in which the alleged imprisonment occurred.
A spokesperson on behalf of the university told The Independent: “We are well aware of the claims made by this former student and we are robustly defending the current litigation.
“Despite being awarded a first class degree she attempted to disrupt her own graduation ceremony in 2013 as part of her dispute with the university, an action which would have damaged the experience for many other graduating students.”
The statement continued, stating Wong was asked to leave the stage due to attempts at a protest and instead was sat in an adjacent room.
“She was free to leave at any time and got up and left, of her own accord, once the ceremony was over.”
— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) March 12, 2018
But Wong is determined to continue the fight, stating: “I hope that bringing this case will set a precedent so that students can get value for money, and if they don’t they get compensated.
“Anglia Ruskin talked a good talk, but then didn’t deliver.”
The university’s lawyers have responded, lodging papers which reject Wong’s claims. Lawyers stated promises about job prospects were not part of any contract, however, the “real” contract between the university and student was clear tuition fees are nonrefundable.
The university’s response papers also claimed it is likely the former student was unable to find suitable employment as she spent significant “time and energy” attempting to discredit the university through campaigns on social media.
While some argue your degree subject doesn’t really matter and nor does where you went to university, perhaps it does… Or maybe degrees are what you make of them. Either way, this student found out the hard way.