Published On: Mon, May 19th, 2014 on 10:40 pm

Former student fights to continue PhD research in Leeds

Sanaz Raji

Sanaz Raji. Image: Yorkshire Standard.

A former international student is continuing her three-year fight to complete her studies and stay at her place of residence.

Sanaz Raji came to the UK to study and was a PhD candidate at the Institute of Communications Studies (ICS) at the University of Leeds, until she had her scholarship revoked.

She was awarded a three-year tuition fees and maintenance scholarship from the ICS in September 2009, but her intended PhD supervisor left the university before she began.

After a few months, in February 2010, she requested a meeting with the postgraduate research tutor in which she explained her concerns about her studies.

She later had her PhD revoked in August 2011, which Ms Raji claims was not in accordance to the rules and regulations outlined in the University of Leeds Research Student Handbook, and wasn’t given sufficient supervisory meetings.

The revocation was done two weeks before the start of her enrollment for the 2011-2012 academic year, so she was unable to continue the research, as she had no financial means to afford the steep £13,700 tuition fee along with supporting herself for another year.

Almost three years have gone by and she has been embroiled in an internal dispute with the Institute, and fighting to stay in one place, after being evicted from her student accommodation and also having her visa revoked.

Ms Raji told the Yorkshire Standard: “I have an immigration case, a housing case and an education case. It is very difficult and very daunting, because I just want to be on my course and finish my PhD that’s it.

“It’s nothing anyone wants to go through but it’s happened, and I have to go through it.”

Leading her own campaign named ‘Justice4Sanaz’, she is appealing against the University’s decision and has launched a petition that has accumulated nearly 1,000 signatures.

The NUS Black Student Conference has passed a motion to support the campaign, which is also endorsed by three student unions including those at King’s College London, Royal Holloway University and the University of Bradford.

The campaign has also been endorsed by Baroness Haleh Afshar, BAFTA nominated director Tina Gharavi and Professor of Iranian and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, Hamid Dabashi.

Ms Raji believes the problems she has experienced also affect other international students studying here in the UK.

She said: “You can find this issue in many universities and similar situations have also happened to other international students who don’t fight. The reasons why they don’t fight is because of immigration and loopholes that make it very difficult for them to stay in the country.

“I also can’t work in this country as I’m in a visa loophole, so if I were to work full-time I’d be deported without any trial and it’s already happened to a few people in my circumstance. I’m trying to survive everyday and it’s a real struggle.”

Leeds University Union was contacted for its view on this story, but did not respond.

About the Author

Guest Editorial

- The work of guest writers who publish original content to the Yorkshire Standard. All material is copyrighted and belongs to the Yorkshire Standard.

Leave a comment

Your comment will be approved before it is published.

Comments containing profanity, spam or web links will NOT be approved.