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January 15, 2003

Deaf student rejected by Oxford offered place at Cambridge

From: Guardian Unlimited, UK - 15 Jan 2003

Rodrigo Davies
Wednesday January 15, 2003

The deaf student at the centre of an admissions row at Oxford last year is now set to study at Cambridge.

Anastasia Fedotova, whose rejection from Brasenose College last year sparked a furious row over Oxford's admissions procedures, has been offered a place at Trinity College, Cambridge. Ms Fedotova, who achieved six grade As at A-level, applied from Parrs Wood technology college in Manchester to study mathematics but was rejected following an interview in December 2001.

At the time, Anastasia's mother, Elena, said that the affair "does bring into question the university's selection methods" while the Disability Rights Commission recommended that Oxford undergo a review of its admissions procedures.

However, the university strenuously denied that it had been negligent in dealing with her application. "We are committed to providing equality of opportunity for all our students and give clear guidelines and training to admissions tutors that are designed to ensure that no candidate is disadvantaged due to disability," said a spokesman.

The new Disability Discrimination Act, introduced in September of last year, now ensures that disabled students are not discriminated against in admissions procedures. Since its passing, Cambridge has introduced a scheme whereby every disabled applicant offered a place is contacted individually to arrange support. It also operates a "special access scheme" for students who feel that their study prior to applying has been "substantially disrupted because of their health or disability".

In order to confirm her place at Trinity, Anastasia must still pass the Cambridge sixth term examination paper - a supplement to A-levels that the university uses to differentiate between applicants. Cambridge sources have said that Anastasia, having passed the interview stage, is confident of confirming a place at the university.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003