- A former student at Oxford University has filed a lawsuit against the institution, alleging that a professor's teaching methods were so boring and uninspiring, that it forced him to earn lower grades, and eventually lower earnings as a practicing attorney.
- Faiz Siddiqui claims that he now suffers from depression and insomnia as a result of receiving substandard marks in David Washbrook's course on Indian imperial history back in 2000.
- The school seeks dismissal of the case in light of its filing more than 15 years after the course was taken, but observers say it could be a test case for other students and claims of substandard education with lasting professional effects for graduates.
It is unlikely that the statute of limitation standard in most states would allow for a case like this to proceed for one student, but given the new litigious culture against for-profit institutions and new rules from the federal government, more cases could advance through U.S. courts for similar issues.
Schools now face the possibility of being sued for a lack of workforce preparedness or inability to help students market themselves for professional advancement. This puts college leaders in the unenviable position of having to bolster career services offices and revamp academic policies to clearly outline how courses help students prepare for work with liberal arts training, or specific professional tutelage. Provosts, deans and chairpersons should convene to discuss how this new culture may dramatically shape time-tested pedagogical approaches and notions of theory-based education, to avoid rampant lawsuits from aggressive former students.