Universities have become part of the system of vicious border policing in the UK. We are a student movement fighting the advance of the 'hostile environment' onto our campuses and producing a counter-vision of the truly public university.
The far right is expanding across Europe and the Americas. The pairing of climate crisis and decades of military intervention in the Global South drive tens of millions from their homes. Meanwhile, the border industry swells with the profits of this devastation. Now more than ever is time to fight back.
We are campaigning for the Vice-Chancellors of UK universities to sign the 'Pledge Against the Hostile Environment'.
The Pledge is a public condemnation of Home Office policies that set up discriminatory barriers to entry for migrant students, turn university staff into border guards and expose students and staff to the abuses of detention and deportation. It is a commitment to prioritising the University's role as a site of critical learning and research, and its orientation to social good, over compliance with Home Office anti-immigrant policy.
EDUCATION FOR ALL
Young people’s participation in intellectual inquiry and access to educational resources should not be subject to Home Office schemes of exclusion from citizenship. Applicants with ‘indefinite’ or ‘limited’ leave to remain are made to pay international fees and denied access to student finance – effectively excluding them from higher education. Some universities impose more stringent academic requirements and financial proof for students from countries that UK Visas and Immigration designates as 'high-risk'.
We are demanding that universities classify applicants with temporary immigration status as ‘home’ students for fee purposes, and to provide them with bursaries and administrative support.
Social and political freedoms undergird democratic politics and critical scholarship. The Home Office co-opts teaching staff to monitor their own students’ compliance with visa requirements, to ‘catch out’ those whose status becomes irregular or who have to work without permission to support themselves. Universities develop teams of dedicated personnel, as well as training programmes to embed this surveillance across all departments.
We are demanding that universities remove all measures of monitoring that infringe on legislation protecting human rights, civil liberties and equality and to end sub-contracting of data-collection to private companies. We are demanding that training gives priority to these duties over compliance with the Home Office.
NO DETENTION, NO DEPORTATION
Universities should offer refuge from the abuses of the detention-deportation system and ensure the freedom of association of its workers. They have previously cut off ties to students who are trapped in detention, even when their cases are ongoing. Sub-contracted corporations that manage their catering, cleaning or security services have invited immigration enforcement raids on university workers in order to crush labour organising.
We are demanding that universities take every precaution in order not to deliver students and staff into immigration detention, to support those who are detained or under threat of detention or deportation, and to intervene to ensure staff’s freedom of association.
"A WALL IS JUST A
WALL AND NOTHING
MORE AT ALL. IT CAN
BE BROKEN DOWN."
- Assata Shakur