Tuesday, 27 April 2010

On-line Petition

Students NOT suspects have composed the following on-line petition which is designed to engage the new Warden at Goldsmiths on the matter of PBIS. Please read the text below, follow the link provided (or click on the title of this post) and lend your name. This petition, by the way, is open to all, and in fact would benefit from a wide demographic of supporters.

To: Pat Loughrey, Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Pat Loughrey,

I am writing to express my grave concerns with the implementation of the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) Points Based System of Immigration (PBSI) at Goldsmiths. By imposing the UKBA's agenda of national security and border control on universities, PBSI has effectively turned students into suspects and staff into border agents. These xenophobic and reactionary tendencies run counter to the openness and free exchange of ideas necessary for research, teaching, and learning to occur.

Furthermore, the UKBA has transferred the financial and administrative burden of PBSI, which is considerable, onto individual staff and students, resulting in elevated workloads and stress. By increasing the cost and complexity of the visa application process, the UKBA has rendered universities less accessible and less welcoming to non-EU nationals, thus potentially damaging the reputation of higher education in the UK.

The result will be less cultural and social diversity in higher education, to the detriment of Goldsmiths and the sector overall.

I therefore urge Goldsmiths Senior Management to meet with:

Universities UK and the UK Council for International Student Affairs to campaign strongly against PBSI, and for the interests of the higher education sector

Goldsmiths UCU and UNISON to discuss how staff who conscientiously object to PBSI can be protected from disciplinary action

Goldsmiths Student Union to determine how students negatively affected by PBSI can be provided with additional information and support

the entire Goldsmiths community (students and staff) on an on-going basis to report back on its advocacy activities and to solicit input

In general, I would like to see Senior Management take a proactive role and be transparent and accountable in its practices in relation to PBSI, including taking responsibility for, and immediately correcting, any administrative errors.

This is because Goldsmiths students have had visas refused for minor clerical errors, which has caused great disruption to their studies and personal lives.


The Undersigned