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End Border Violence Open Letter

Through their investments, contracts and partnerships, universities across the UK are complicit in violence against people who move across and within borders. Under the banner of Divest Borders, students and staff across the country are resisting the border industry and demanding that academic institutions stand up for migrant justice. Sign our open letter to show your support for the campaign!

Sign the Open Letter

Ending Border Violence Open Letter

Human rights abuses take place at borders around the world. People who move are subjected to hostile and degrading treatment at every stage of their journey. This is not a failure of the system – it is the system - hostile and violent by design. It is well-evidenced that the world's most powerful countries are pouring billions of public money into weapons and walls, recasting what is fundamentally a humanitarian crisis into a security threat that requires a militarised response.

The government’s hostile environment policies export bordering to the private sector, forcing doctors and teachers to act as immigration enforcement officers. Furthermore, the profit-making border industry has catalysed this trend by giving states the tools, technologies, and militarised equipment to perpetrate violence against racialised and vulnerable groups. Companies such as Serco, Airbus, Tui and Accenture make billions from the detention, deportation, surveillance and persecution of people who move, and in turn lobby for more aggressive policies to increase profits and misery.

Universities across the UK currently hold huge investments in the border industry and hold contracts paying millions to these companies for on-campus services, providing those who profit from border violence with both funding and academic legitimacy. No university should be funding firms that profit from detention centres in which people are imprisoned, abused and neglected; surveillance systems which deny basic privacy rights; or equipment designed to hurt and even kill people seeking safety.

As academics and university staff, we expect our universities to be leading on the major social and environmental issues of our time. We join these institutions dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and the bettering of society. We become a constituent part of these institutions. They teach about rights and human dignity, while silently profiting from the same violence they claim to condemn. Our universities should be examining and exposing industries that systematically cause harm, not benefitting from them.

We have the power to organise for dignity and justice but doing so requires all of us acting together in solidarity. Students and workers at universities have a crucial role to play in holding these institutions to account for complicity in harm. Academic communities cross borders. It is our responsibility to question and hold these institutions accountable. It is our responsibility not just to ensure our institutions are not complicit in profiting from misery, but to ensure that they contribute toward building a better world for all.

We must resist border violence and the industry that supports it. We demand border divestment for what borders historically represent, for the violence they perpetuate, and for the many ways our universities have profited from them through the centuries.

Therefore, we the undersigned call on higher education institutions to respect people's right to seek safety and to move, stay and thrive as they please. This requires universities to be transparent about their investments, and to break ties with all companies that strengthen the physical and virtual walls which violently control, track and prevent movement.

Signed by:

  1. Justine Jenkins, Cardiff University
  2. Professor Michaela Benson, Lancaster University
  3. Dr Chris Rossdale, University of Bristol
  4. Joan Haran, Cardiff University
  5. Dr Lucy Mayblin, University of Sheffield
  6. Dr Monish Bhatia, Birkbeck University of London, Lecturer in Criminology
  7. Victoria Canning, University of Bristol, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Co-coordinator of European Group for the Study of Deviance and Social Control
  8. Emma Patchett, University of Leeds
  9. Dr Lisa Tilley, SOAS University of London
  10. Dr Angela Sherwood, Queen Mary University of London, Lecturer in Law
  11. Dr Tahir Zaman, University of Sussex
  12. Dr Rachel Seoighe, University of Kent, Lecturer in Criminology
  13. Dr Sita Balani, King's College London
  14. Chris Taylor, University of Nottingham, Students' Union Education Officer 2021-22
  15. Sharon Hartles, University of Strathclyde, Researcher
  16. Andreas Bieler, University of Nottingham
  17. Dr Hanna Baumann, University College London
  18. Professor Michael Rowe, Northumbria University
  19. Dr Andy Aydin-Aitchinson, University of Edinburgh, Senior Lecturer, Criminology, School of Law
  20. Dr Hannah Wilkinson, University of Keele, Lecturer in Criminology
  21. Dr William McGowan, Liverpool John Moores University
  22. Dr Andrew Williams, Cardiff University, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography
  23. Dr Maurice Stierl, University of Sheffield, Lecturer in International Relations
  24. Conrad Moriarty-Cole, Goldsmiths University of London
  25. Grace Tillyard, Goldsmiths University of London
  26. Florence Platford, Goldsmiths University of London
  27. Dr Neda Genova, University of Warwick
  28. Muhammad Ali, University of Nottingham, SU Community Officer
  29. Dr Aidan Mosselson, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
  30. AJ Gooden, University of Nottingham, Student Union Sports Officer
  31. Dr Ala Sirriyeh, University of Lancaster
  32. Professor Alison Phipps, University of Glasgow, Professor of Languages & Intercultural Studies; UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and Arts
  33. Bella Hoogeveen, University of Glasgow, UNESCO Arts Hub co-ordinator
  34. Professor Bridget Anderson, University of Bristol, Director of Migration Mobilities
  35. Professor Bridget Byrne, University of Manchester
  36. Brittnee Leysen, University of Glasgow, Project Administrator with the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts
  37. Dr Carmen Ramos Villar, University of Sheffield,
  38. Dr Cetta Mainwaring, University of Glasgow, Lecturer
  39. Dr Dan Fisher, University of Glasgow
  40. Dr Clare Griffiths, University of Keele, Lecturer in Criminology
  41. Dr Dan Godshaw, University of Bristol
  42. Dr Hyab Yohannes, University of Glasgow
  43. Dr Laura Connelly, University of Sheffield
  44. Dr Meghan Tinsley, University of Manchester
  45. Dr Ozge Ozduzen, University of Sheffield
  46. Dr Teresa Piacentini, University of Glasgow
  47. Emmaleena Käkelä, Queen Margaret University London
  48. George Sullivan, University of Nottingham, SU President
  49. Dr Hannah Lewis, University of Sheffield, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
  50. Hannah Wadle, Alhambra Medical University
  51. Jamie Coates, University of Sheffield
  52. Dr Joanne Britton, University of Sheffield
  53. Dr Joe Turner, University of York
  54. Dr Katie Bales, University of Bristol
  55. Letizia Mollinedo, University of Manchester
  56. Luan Cassal, University of Manchester
  57. Lucy Potter, University of Sheffield
  58. Luiza Leao Soares Pereira, University of Sheffield, Lecturer in International Law
  59. Dr Marcia Vera Espinoza, Queen Margaret University London, Senior Research Fellow
  60. Meghan Dennis, University of California, Berkeley, Postdoctoral Researcher in Data Interpretation and Public Engagement
  61. Dr Melissa Gatter, University of Sheffield
  62. Dr Natasha Carver, University of Bristol
  63. Dr Nicola De Martini Ugolotti, Bournemouth University
  64. Parise Carmichael-Murphy, University of Manchester
  65. Dr Patricia Nabuco Martuscelli, University of Sheffield
  66. Dr Peter McMylor, University of Manchester
  67. Professor Graeme Kirkpatrick, University of Manchester
  68. Dr Rebecca Yeo, University of Bristol
  69. Dr Remi Joseph-Salisbury, University of Manchester, Presidential Fellow
  70. Ryan Lutz, University of Bristol
  71. Dr Sadie Ryan, University of Glasgow
  72. Samir Sweida-Metwally, University of Bristol
  73. Dr Santiago Amietta, University of Keele
  74. Dr Sarah Kunz, University of Bristol, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
  75. Dr Seb Franklin, King's College London
  76. Siobhan O'Neill, University of Manchester
  77. SJ Cooper-Knock, University of Sheffield, Senior Lecturer in Criminology
  78. Dr Sophia Woodman, University of Edinburgh
  79. Stephen Hurt, Oxford Brookes University, Reader in International Relations
  80. Tesfalem H. Yemane, University of Leeds
  81. Tess Hartland, University of Manchester
  82. Juanjo Andres Cuervo, Birkbeck University
  83. Dr Aylwyn Walsh, University of Leeds
  84. Sultan Chaudhury, University of Nottingham
  85. Dr Chris Hesketh, Oxford Brookes University
  86. Louise Lee, University of Roehampton
  87. Marion Guerbet, King's College London, Social Impact Assistant
  88. Sabrina Axster, Johns Hopkins University
  89. Dr Alex Fitzpatrick, University of Bradford
  90. Dr Paolo Novak, SOAS, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies
  91. Dr Matthew Benwell, Newcastle University, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography
  92. Dr Lesley McFayden , Birkbeck, University of London, Senior Lecturer
  93. Dr Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Birkbeck, University of London, Assistant Dean for Equalities and Diversity
  94. Dr Furaha Asani, Researcher
  95. Dr Anu Ranawana,University of St Andrews, Researcher

Sign the End Border Violence Open Letter

To sign your name to the letter, please fill in your name, email and university affiliation here!

We are a student movement fighting to get our universities to divest from companies that profit from the border regime and from the human rights abuses inflicted on migrating people at borders in the UK and across the globe.

Find out more about the Divest Borders campaign

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