Published On: Wed, Jan 28th, 2015 on 11:10 am

Former PhD student takes mission to fight student discrimination nationwide

Justice4Sanaz

EXCLUSIVE: A former PhD student from Leeds will be touring universities across the country to highlight discrimination against non-EU international students and people of colour.

Sanaz Raji, who originally came to the UK to study, will be travelling to universities in Warwick, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, before stopping back at Leeds.

She will attempt to highlight what she claims is “inadequate services and facilities” that non-EU international and BME students are suffering.

Sanaz said: “Many non-EU international and BME students are suffering in silence because of woefully inadequate services and facilities within universities that do not address their needs.

“Be it about racism, xenophobia faced on campus or harassment from UKBA Universities who do this intentionally in order to make it impossible for non-EU international students to legally challenge them.

“Likewise, because of the stringent immigration controls on non-EU international students, we have absolutely no recourse to legally remain in the UK and challenge a university for their negligence. People would be surprised to learn that non-EU international students pay anywhere between £11,000 to £20,000 in tuition fees per year.”

“At the onset of my campaign, support was virtually non-existent”

The tour will also highlight Sanaz’s three-year dispute over her studies.

She came to the UK to study and began a PhD course at the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS) at the University of Leeds, until she had her scholarship revoked.

Sanaz claims the revocation was not in accordance to the rules and regulations outlined in the student handbook, and claims she wasn’t given sufficient supervisory meetings.

The revocation was done two weeks before the start of her enrolment for the 2011-2012 academic year, so she was unable to continue the research and also couldn’t afford the £13,700 tuition fee.

It’s been three years and Sanaz has been embroiled in an internal dispute with the Institute.

She is also fighting to stay in one place after being evicted from her student accommodation and also having her visa revoked.

Sanaz said: “At the onset of my campaign, support was virtually non-existent. This was because many within the student movement were unaware of the special issues that encompass both PhD and non-EU international students.

“However, in the past year, things have rapidly changed. Currently I have the support of six student unions: King’s College London, Royal Holloway, University of Bradford, University of Bristol, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the University of Birmingham.

“Additionally, Justice4Sanaz has the support of the NUS Black Students Campaign and Defend Education Birmingham.”

About the Author

Hasan Faridi

- Hasan is the founder and editor-in chief of the Yorkshire Standard. A BA Hons graduate from the University of Huddersfield, he has over four years of experience in newspapers, magazines and radio.

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