St Hugh’s settle court case over "selecting by wealth"

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A joint statement by Shannon and St Hugh’s said, “St Hugh’s College and Damien Shannon are pleased to announce that they have resolved the dispute between them, and that the Court proceedings in Manchester County Court are at an end with immediate effect.”

In the agreement announced tonight, Shannon will take up his place in Michaelmas. The university has also agreed to review the Financial Guarantee Policy, which ruled that Shannon did not have sufficient funds to live in Oxford, such that he could not study at the university.

The St Hugh’s statement promised a university wide review into the fairness and practicality of graduate funding. “On completion of the review” it said, “recommendations will be put to the University’s Council and the Conference of Colleges for consideration. It is anticipated that the process will be completed by September 2013.”

A source at St Hugh’s told Cherwell that Dame Elish Angiolini, Principal of St Hugh’s, had questioned the merits of the financial guarantee system and whether there should be other options when funding isn’t available.

Shannon was unable to take up his offer last year after the university found he did not have £12,900 living costs. He was suing the college for “selecting students on the basis of wealth, and excluding those not in possession of it.”

In an email to students, St Hugh’s College stated that, “St Hugh’s College and the History Faculty of the University of Oxford have jointly made available to Mr Shannon a place on the one year MSc in Economic and Social History, the course for which he originally applied. Both parties have agreed to pay their own costs and no moneys have changed hands.”

David Messling, OUSU Vice-President for Access and Academic Affairs, told Cherwell, “This is a positive development, and it’s heartening that all involved have recognised the unjustifiable nature of the Financial Guarantee policy as it stands. OUSU, working with MCRs, are closely involved in the review of the Financial Guarantee to ensure that any future policy will not act as a disproportionate and unfair barrier to graduate study.”

He continued, “This case has shone even more light on the issues of postgraduate access – some of the answers are to be found here in Oxford, but many are on a national level where there is mounting need for means-based postgraduate financial support.”

 

 

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