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SOAS’ £20k compensation student calls for university to issue formal apology.

SOAS’ £20,000 PhD compensation student, Dr Vishal Vora, has began an online petition calling for SOAS management to issue a formal apology for supervision failures. 

Dr Vora, a former SOAS PhD student, was compensated £20,000 by the university after a six-year long legal battle, following the university’s failure to provide any supervision during his six year PhD at SOAS.

Dr Vora said that the experience took a “massive toll” on his relationships, family and friends. “I spent my entire period at SOAS feeling unvalued, lost and stressed”. He states that whilst SOAS Management refused to issue him an apology out of “arrogance”, the institution owes him an apology and should “provide students with the professional services they are paying for”.

This is not the first time that the university have come under fire for failure to provide adequate PhD supervision. In 2017, a SOAS Politics PhD student was issued a £5,000 compensation after a lack of supervision left them in a “constant state of anxiety”. 

A spokesperson added in 2017 that SOAS director, Baroness Amos, was initiating a review to examine the lessons learned by the school. More that one year on, the report has yet to be published. 

Dr Vora has also revealed that over 40 students have come forward with similar incidents since the compensation was reported. He now encourages students to hold their institutions to account, “otherwise nothing happens”. 

Dr Vora is now taking active action to support university students to take action against their institutions. He has recently published a features article about how to deal with inadequate PhD supervision and plans to hold future complaints workshops at SOAS to provide students with practical experience.

Still, it remains unclear as to how detrimental an impact these stories will have on SOAS’ growing financial debt and student intake drop. However, the school must do more for its students to retain a positive reputation.

SOAS management were unable to provide a comment.

Khadija Kothia, BA History


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