University of Sheffield and Students' Union statement on International Students
The University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union was concerned to learn of the decision to revoke London Metropolitan University’s license to admit and teach international students.
Without commenting on the details of this specific case, it is regrettable that a consequence of this action will lead to severe disruption for many legitimate international students and their families, and that this will inevitably send a damaging message about the UK’s approach to international students.
Commenting on the impact on legitimate students, Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett said: “The University of Sheffield works closely with government and students to fulfil all its legal obligations in relation to visas, but is concerned that the UK does not unwittingly deter people of talent who have a great contribution to make and who are such a vital part of the success of British Universities.
“Our duty of care to those who put their trust in us is absolute. It is a core human, and British, value of our dealings with family, friends, neighbours and communities. A big part of this is not changing your mind when you have made a decision to work with someone, and protecting those who have been honestly fulfilling their part of a bargain.
“If you change your mind in a way that might affect someone's life, however proper that decision may seem to you, you have an overwhelming obligation to sit down with that person and talk through the issues fully and honestly. They may be able to respond to your concerns but you also have to do all in your power to stick with the covenant you made with them. If you do not, the trust of others that you will fulfil your contracts will be fundamentally undermined.”
Student Union President, Abdi Suleiman, said: “Our primary concern is of course to the well-being of international students, and the reputational damage that all universities will suffer from the seemingly precarious nature of studying in the UK that newspapers and television stations around the world will now be describing. There is a growing sense of anxiety from all international students about their own position in the UK, in the light of events in London. As a Union we want to reassure them that their own situation is secure.
“We will continue to work both with the NUS and with our own University to challenge negative perceptions about the role and value of international students.”
The University of Sheffield is home to staff and students from over 150 countries, and these colleagues and friends make a vital contribution to our academic life, knowledge and economy. International staff and students work in every faculty, addressing some of the most challenging issues facing our city, region, nation and world.
In the summer of 2012, the University and Students’ Union committed themselves to a shared campaign to promote and celebrate the value of international students, and to increase understanding of their vital role in the life of the University and the nation.
For further information please contact:
Acting Media Relations Manager
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852