Imperial has come under fire by charities and MPs after removing an offer to study Medicine from an A-level student with a spent criminal conviction. Majid Ahmed, from Little Horton in Bradford, has four As at A-level (doesn't everyone now?) and had originally been offered a place before disclosing his conviction for burglary in 2005. Ahmed was sentenced to four months community service and has since volunteered with disability charities and moved schools.
The College invited Ahmed to a second interview upon learning of his conviction, where a variety of evidence to support his reformed character was presented, including references from his school, charities and doctors with whom he had carried out work experience. A College response described the interview as follows:
"At this interview the panel explores details surrounding the criminal event and the applicant?s involvement in it. It is important that the applicant is able to demonstrate that they have insight into the event and the implications of their involvement in it, that they possess a mature attitude and that they understand the privileges and particular sensitivities of medicine as a career."
Ahmed told the Guardian: "I had the place and then it was taken off me. I am overwhelmed by anger that I have let something like this affect my life. I'm a kid who has grown up surrounded by violence and drugs. Give me a chance and I'll show the universities that I'm not a bad guy. I won't risk their reputation."
Imperial has defended its position, saying it plays an important role in helping to uphold trust in the medical profession by checking criminal records. Crime reduction charities and MPs have attacked the decision, highlighting that Ahmed has the requisite grades but also comes from a deprived background - something currently lacking amongst Imperial students.