Another Non-EU International Student at the LSE Victimized and Discriminated Against

Every time the Justice4Sanaz campaign hears that certain student activists, usually of the NUS variety, position our activism as a ‘individual matter’ within student activist circles, more cases like Sanaz’s come out of the woodwork. These cases show the inherently discriminatory manner that British universities treat their non-EU international students and staff and the utterly neglectfully way that organizations like NUS fail to protect the rights of non-EU international students.

In March we alerted you to two students at SOAS who publicly came forward of the horrible treatment that they have received in their respective departments. We know there are more students suffering in silence, too afraid to publicly come forward of the draconian and racist xenophobic treatment that they’ve endured within the walls British universities.

Recently we have been alerted to yet another case of a non-EU international postgrad student who was discriminated against because of her disability at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The student’s case was featured in a BuzzFeed piece outlining how LSE Accommodation failed to provided adequate housing for her disability. As a disabled student, she was forced to move so many times within the course of her academic year that this seriously impacted her health and in turn her studies. The student is now demanding that LSE allow her to repeat her coursework and teaching for her degree without having to pay another year of the hefty, £20,000+ tuition fee along with financial compensation for her accommodation and steps put in place that no other non-EU international student with a disability be treated in such an appalling and degrading manner.

Imagine being a non-EU international student with a disability living in expensive student housing that is next to a building site that your accommodation office has not told you about that is seriously exacerbating your health. Imagine you have to hear this ruckas day in, day out.

Recently Justice4Sanaz spoke with the student in question and she stated,

“What they [LSE management] are trying to do, what they have been trying to do for the past 6 months is just to stretch [this matter] out for as long as possible so I don’t have funds to either stay in the country, to support myself, or to pay for repeat teaching.

The amount of time this has taken me has not only [taken time] for me to recover mobility in my left arm, the emotional distress because I have a disability, the cost which is more than $85,000 US dollars in loans, the physical impact of having to move 4 times.

[The type of treatment that non-EU international students are receiving] is unheard of in the US. It would never happen in the States.

The LSE has ruined a crucial year of my life. I have a job interview at [xxx] but I can’t take the job because I won’t have the degree. And that is because of a lack of academic advising and administration from my department. It is an all around disaster.

I may walk away empty handed after spending so much money. But I believe in justice. When you settle for less, you get less than what you’ve settled for and I’ve been settling for less from this institution for way too long. I do believe something has to be said. It’s gone way too far.

The way that they keep you inside is…you don’t know where to turn to as a international student.”

Justice4Sanaz encourages everyone to please sign this student’s petition which was recently put up by Christopher Burt, a student representative at LSE, entitled, “LSE Should Treat Disabled Students With Humanity“.

Justice4Sanaz also wonders when the student movement (NUS, NCAFC, and grassroots groups) will take seriously the issues of bureaucratic violence, racist xenophobia, ableism, sexism and queer and transphobia seriously with regards to non-EU international students? Or are non-EU international students to remain content and grateful with our second class status within both British higher education the student movement at large?

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About justice4sanaz

For 3 years, Sanaz Raji, a non-EU international student from the United States, has waged a fearless and brave fight against institutional aggression, bullying, and racism from the School of Media and Communication (formerly the Institution of Communications Studies) University of Leeds. The School of Media and Communication took away Sanaz's scholarship in August 2011, only 2 weeks before the start of her third year into her PhD studies. The School of Media and Communication breached their own procedures and rules concerning evaluating student progress. By taking away Sanaz's scholarship, the School of Media and Communication prevented her from continuing her studies in addition to having a decent standard of living with food and shelter that all students expect as a human right. In waging her battle for equal rights for non-EU international students, Sanaz was evicted from her university accommodation in May 2014, threatened with an ASBO (anti-social behavior order) and now fighting against deportation. All non-EU international students should have the right to challenge their universities for their failings without the threat of harassment or deportation. Justice4Sanaz is a movement to redress the failure of the student movement to discuss the myriad of ways that non-EU students, especially those who are people of color, are silenced, bullied and threatened within the neoliberal British university system.
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