Join the Undoing Borders campaign
The UK government is denying basic human rights through racist policies. In 2014, a policy to create a 'hostile environment' was implemented. We have seen not just the overt blatant physical borders come to the fore, but also the everyday borders that deny undocumented migrants basic human rights. Resulting in being denied access to health care, education and housing, falling hand in hand with the ever rising racist abuse towards people from a migrant background.
We are a student movement fighting against the 'hostile environment' infringing on our campuses and collectively creating a new vision and future. Join the the campaign to start building practical avenues for your university to resist the racist injustices infringing on our university campuses, to fight the border industry on your campus and stamp out racist reporting in the media.
What we are calling for
Universities have a choice. To stand on the side of international students and not the Home Office and racist government policies. International students and migrant workers are the backbone to our universities. Yet continually international students are treated as cash cows, whilst continually living under the precarity of student visas, taken advantage of by landlords by having to pay 6 months rent in advance without a UK guarantor and being treated as suspects under the PREVENT policy. Whilst universities also continue to outsource, with companies that exploit migrant workers who provide services across our campuses. We believe this is unacceptable and are committed to holding universities to account for their actions and for the role they play in contributing and upholding the mistreatment international students and migrant workers.
This is what students across the UK are demanding:
1. Media Campaign
Block Breitbart and The Daily Express from their advertising packages and commit to never advertising with Breitbart
Journalism lecturers, local journalists and university newspaper journalists to sign up to the media charter, Not Illegal. Human. petition.
Stop Specsavers, by not inviting them to freshers fairs, remove them from the NUS extra discount card and push them to drop their ads in the Daily Express.
2. Borders off campus
Universities to cut their ties and not renew their contracts with the five companies: Capita, G4S, Serco, Mitie and GEO.
Universities who do not have any contracts to formally agree to never use these companies.
Support workers, so that there is a just transition in which these boycotts happen and the outsourced workers (often migrant workers) do not lose their jobs but sustainable and viable alternatives are in place.
3. Sanctuary Campus
Universities to commit to practical and tangible commitments to stop the targeting and unjust treatment of international students and migrant workers.
Develop a two Sanctuary Campus policies with concrete asks. One for universities and one for student unions.
Develop an accreditation scheme with students for universities to take up different aspects of the Sanctuary Campus policy in order to gain bronze, silver or gold badges.
From Europe’s failure to prevent the deaths of thousands of refugees, to stoked up racial hatred in the wake of Brexit, the movement of people across borders continues to dominate political conversations at every level.
The media is key in framing these conversations. However, mainstream media narratives are not neutral. They systematically exclude certain voices – the voices of those who migrate. They also deliberately ignore the root causes of why people, particularly from the Global South, are forced to migrate. Environmental chaos, imperial wars and global capitalism – disproportionately driven by the Global North – creates a perpetual condition of precacrity and displacement.
Instead of recognising our historical responsibility for the uprooting of communities, the UK media continues to demonise those most oppressed by our economic and foreign policies. This is not just moral failure. It’s a key tool in maintaining an exploitative global system. It’s wrong to criminalise the movement of vulnerable people. Especially when their displacement is the result of our global political and economic system.
Block Breitbart & the Daily Express
Due to the race to compete against each other and in the age of free online content, newspapers are now often sold at a loss - with some selling for only 10p. The main way media organisations bring in the cash is through adverts. In effect, the organisations that pay for these ads are funding the headlines and stories, we see both online and in newspapers.
This presents a unique opportunity where people have a chance to cut off funds to media organisations by demanding advertisers boycott their racist publications.
Breitbart News is the self proclaimed voice of the new-right, made famous for supporting Trump’s rise to power. Its far right message includes cheerleading for the #MuslimBan, sexist rants about keeping women in their place, misinformation on climate change, as well as a constant flow of out and out racism.
The Daily Express is responsible for headlines such as ’BRITAIN MUST BAN MIGRANTS’. They not only endorsed UKIP, but its owner Richard Desmond personally donated £1 million to the anti- immigrant party. We believe a newspaper that promotes a political party based on demonising immigrants has no place in our media landscape.
Universities currently advertising in Breitbart and the Daily Express are supporting this toxic agenda. Some universities after student pressure have already block ads on Breitart. We want ever university in the UK to take a moral stand and stop funding these toxic publications.
To shake things up big time we need more than just our universities to pull their ads. We need the big spenders as well. Specsavers is one of the Daily Express’ main advertisers and students and other members of the public have been targeting them for over 12 months asking them to pull their ads from the Express. We need to make sure that students on our campuses boycott Specsavers until they pull their ads.
Not Illegal - Human
People & Planet have created a charter collaboratively with journalists, young migrants and experts in the field who have historically been working towards eliminating the discrimination and prejudice in the media. We believe that it’s important to build bridges between journalists, migrant communities and campaigning/policy organisations.
We're now looking for journalists, publications, media departments, academics and organizations to sign-up to the charters principles.
One of the key principles is 'Drop the word illegal'. The phrase ’illegal immigrant’ has been misused in the media. Not only is it morally wrong to use but also factually incorrect. The injustice lies in that such a widespread word, has lead to a climate being created whereby the public is told to be suspicious of, report, dehumanise and abuse those suspected of being undocumented. We call on journalists and media outlets to commit to never use ’illegal’ to describe any immigrant, unless in the context of a direct quote.
Borders off Campus
Our universities are directly implicated in maintaining the border industry that operates across the UK and Ireland. The are five companies that are particularly prevalent that we are targeting with this campaign, these are: G4S, Mitie, Capita, Serco and GEO. These companies are all involved in either the building of or maintaining the everyday running of detention centres, through providing infrastructure and security services. At the same time on our campuses the same companies are used to deliver cash collection services, cleaning, catering, portering and more.
The Borders Off Campus component of the campaign will equip you with the tools to participate in and strengthen this network of solidarity with those facing deportation. Taking a lead from those already involved in anti-deportation and anti-raids work, you will run campaigns that:
Raise awareness among the student body of the deportation and detention systems, and particularly how these systems affect international students.
Offer direct, community-based support to students and members of the local community who face detention and deportation.
It is important that we use our privilege to act in solidarity with international students who are targeted and mistreated by the government, the university is used as a vehicle by the government to make these injustices rife on our campuses.
There is an urgency to act in the current climate, as many international students continue to struggle with the government restricting access to housing, healthcare and education as well as being targeted, mistreated and harassed by the government and denied basic human rights. The idea of creating a Sanctuary Campus pledge is to push the university to choose the side of international students and not the Home Office.
International students are continually treated as cash cows by the university as well as landlords who demand at least 6 months rent in advance, without a UK guarantor. Many universities have chosen the side of the Home Office by complying with the the racist government PREVENT strategy. Treating students as suspects and pushing lecturers to become informants. This is unacceptable. The university has a choice in which side they choose.
What can you do:
Join the working group to develop a robust sanctuary campus policy that gets universities to commit to practical and tangible commitments to stop the targeting and unjust treatment of international students and migrant workers.
Find out where your local migrant support centre is and see what help is required.
Help people to fill out case forms.
When you see a raid taking place there are very simple practical actions that you can take to help in the moment. Anti-Raids Network has very helpful resources.
Student campaigning in the UK has led to 11 universities boycotting Google ads on Breitbart Media, including:
Queens University Belfast
University of Westminster
University Of Newcastle
University of St. Mark & St. John
University of Surrey
University of West England Bristol
University Of Westminster
Globally 101 universities have turned their back on Breitbart!
Join the movement. Make your university the next!