Amnesty for London Met International Students

This morning the following letter was sent to the warden at Goldsmiths, signed by the President and Secretary of the branch, calling for a public statement supporting amnesty for London Metropolitan University’s international students – up to 2600 of whom have been threatened with deportation. The letter also calls for details of what senior management is doing to lobby against rules that are unfair and potentially disastrous to the future of UK universities.

The TUC has today passed an emergency motion from UCU expressing their support of amnesty for these students. More information and the text of the motion can be found at http://bit.ly/Pbn5K6.

Letter to the Warden:
Dear Pat Loughrey,

We’re writing to you in relation to the UKBA’s recent decision to revoke London Metropolitan University’s ‘Highly Trusted Status’ and to remove up to 2600 international students should they not find suitable places elsewhere in the UK.

We are asking you to support the call for an amnesty in order to allow these students to complete their programmes of study. They should not be blamed for problems that are not their responsibility.

The decision to revoke London Met’s licence is a disaster not just for the students and the university but for UK higher education as a whole as it gives entirely the wrong signal to prospective students that UK is not an attractive destination for non-EU residents. As London Met argued in the public statement that accompanied its decision to appeal against the revocation, ‘London Met is concerned that the current immigration policy is creating confusion across universities in the country and irrevocable damage to the UK’s globally-recognised education sector.’

Indeed, it seems that criticism of the points based regime, on which the UKBA’s decision was based, seems to be gathering pace. You will be aware that UCU has long-standing criticisms of the fundamentally discriminatory nature of the rules while the recent Public Affairs Committee report on PBIS condemned both the costs and the inconsistencies associated with the rules: ‘Little regard has been given to the regulatory burden and costs of constant change and unnecessary complexity on the education institution.’

As the warden of an important higher education institution, we are asking you, on behalf of the Goldsmiths community, to make a public statement in support of an amnesty for international students at London Met.

Additionally, we would be grateful for details of what senior management is doing to lobby against rules that are unfair and potentially disastrous to the future of UK universities. We urge you to add your voice to the growing opposition to the points-based rules and would welcome any discussions about how we can work together to protect both the rights of international students and the needs of the University itself.

With best wishes,

John Wadsworth – president
Des Freedman – secretary

Goldsmiths UCU EGM Weds Sept 5th 12pm NABLG01

As delegates for the special USS conference of 13/09/2012 have to be elected by next Thursday and amendments submitted by Friday, the Secretary and President have agreed to hold an Emergency General Meeting next Wednesday (5th September) at 12 noon. The meeting will take place in NABLG01. All members are encouraged to take note of these important developments and to attend the meeting.

Agenda

1) USS Dispute – update ahead of special USS conference, Sept 13th.

All members are encouraged to read the motions for the special pensions conference which are at http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/pdf/UCUHE163.pdf.

Members are reminded that we are working to contract to challenge the changes imposed on the pension scheme. More information is available at http://defenduss.web.ucu.org.uk/. Campaign materials and posters will be made available at the meeting.

2) Pay Claim for 2012/13

Members are asked to read UCUHE165 which updates branches on the failure of the employers’ representatives at the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to improve their final offer despite resolution meetings, reminds branches of the Higher Education Committee (HEC) approved ballot and campaign timetable and informs of the trade dispute letter that has been sent to each employer.

The document is available at http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/pdf/UCUHE165.pdf.

3) UKBA threatening nearly 3000 London Met students with deportation

Last week the UK Border Agency (UKBA) revoked London Metropolitan University’s power to teach or recruit international students, leaving nearly 3,000 students facing deportation unless they can find another place to study within 60 days. Please see http://bbc.in/Pz9SIz and http://bit.ly/Pz9TMN for today’s news reports on the subject.

UCU has issued a statement condemning UKBA’s ‘chaotic’ approach, and the ‘damaging message’ it sends to the rest of the world: http://bit.ly/Pywh95

We will continue to post updates on the situation from our twitter @GoldsmithsUCU