This time, it’s the heinous crime of not doing 110% to ensure someone could overlook the fact that her disability wasn’t suited to her goals:
A student who suffers from the chronic sleep disorder narcolepsy is to have her case heard by the Court of Appeal in London on Thursday, following a six-year battle against what she perceives to be disability discrimination by her university.Note that: ‘what she perceives’.
Ms Maxwell's story began in 2004 when she enrolled on a degree course at Salford University to study military and international history. She has a form of narcolepsy which means she is prone to falling asleep during the day and cannot concentrate for more than two or three hours at a time.
Discussions with the university led her to believe that assistance would be available to help her through the course. However, she claimed this was inadequate once she began her studies.No matter what assistance she was granted, she’s still going to struggle. There’s no getting over that.
At one point, she needed somewhere to sleep during the day and was allocated an empty office. However, on a day when there was a fire drill, she was left alone indoors while everyone else was evacuated.That’s bad, but it happened once. Anyone can make a mistake, or an oversight.
But I can’t see that this is tied to her disability – if there’s an evacuation, there should be a policy to check no-one’s left in the building regardless.
She was also given a tape machine to record lessons – but it was of little use because she was unable to stay awake long enough to transcribe the notes.So, of course, she demanded that they provide transcripts (at their own cost). But who can guarantee that she’ll stay awake long enough to read them? Or to take any exams?
Salford offered to give her a print-out of all the lectures but by then, she claimed, it was too late for her to catch up.At what point is someone going to say to this woman that maybe it’s just not possible, with all the assistance available, for her to do what she wants to do?
She filed a complaint to the university towards the end of her first year but was dissatisfied with the result. She then complained to the OIA, a body financed by university subscriptions which can – for free – hear students' complaints about the treatment they have allegedly received.
It took two years for it to issue a ruling, which stated that it could not issue a verdict on whether there had been disability discrimination. The OIA said it did consider her complaint to be justified and recommended compensation payment of £2,500 plus an offer from the university that she be permitted to repeat a year with proper support.And is she satisfied?
Ms Maxwell, however, had started her degree at the age of 43 and did not feel able to resume it six years later at a time when fees had risen. She had also moved away from Salford to High Peak, Derbyshire.*sigh*
Ms Maxwell said: "I am still in the dark as to whether or not disability discrimination took place. To have a definitive answer would mean I could embark on future studies knowing I should expect to receive a certain level of assistance from universities with regard to implementation of support packages."What ‘future studies’? You’ve just claimed you can’t afford any future studies.
Unless, of course, you are anticipating a large payout?