The first concerns a former law student at Jesus College, Catherine Dance, who is suing the university for loss of earnings.
She claims that because the college refused to give her special treatment for her chronic anxiety — for example, she wanted to sit her exams in a private room with a laptop — she had to take a break from her degree, and therefore graduated a year late and missed out on a year’s wages.
The second concerns one Sophie Spector, a former student of politics, philosophy and economics at my old college, Balliol.
Miss Spector thought the college should give her special treatment, including extended deadlines, because she suffered from anxiety and depression, and was, in her own words, ‘a really slow reader’.
But the college refused, she fell behind and eventually she left.
The details are different, but the story is basically the same. Indeed, if you talk to anybody who works in British universities, it is a very familiar tale.
Of course, many students are relatively sane and sensible people. Thanks to the economic pressures of the modern world, the majority are also probably some of the hardest-working in history.
Indeed, last week’s A-level results mean that at least 416,000 new students will be enrolling for university courses.
All the same, there is simply no denying that there now exists a pernicious culture of narcissism and self-obsession at our universities.
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