De Britse aspirant-rechtenstudente Elly Nowell mocht op gesprek komen bij de uiterst prestigieuze rechtenopleiding van Magdalen College van Oxford. Na het gesprek bedankte ze voor de eer, zonder de uitslag af te wachten. Volgens Nowell is de opleiding "ridicolously pompous".
In haar afwijzingsbrief schrijft Nowell: "I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering."
Nowell hekelt vooral de elitaire sfeer van Oxford. "While you may believe your decision to hold interviews in grand formal settings is inspiring, it allows public school applicants to flourish and intimidates state school applicants, distorting the academic potential of both. Whilst you may believe your traditions and rituals are impressive, they reflect badly on your university... frankly, I feel humiliated for both you and your students. (...) The gap between elitism and discrimination is a narrow one."
In de slotzin van haar brief schrijft Nowel sarcatisch: "Perhaps offer a glass of water in your interviews next time; it is rude to torture guests."
Een woordvoerder van Oxford: "Despite what the candidate said, we would point out that the actual admissions figures speak for themselves: of the seven UK students who received offers for law and joint school courses at Magdalen, only one was from an independent school."
Nowell zou inmiddels elders kunnen studeren. Volgens een bericht op haar Facebook pagina kreeg ze een "cheeky offer" van de London School of Economics.