How SUs are supporting the International Students Day of Solidarity

Monday 16-11-2015 - 12:49

Students and students’ unions across the UK are showing their support for international students by taking part in the International Students Campaign Day of Solidarity tomorrow, 17 November.

The International Students Campaign Day of Solidarity gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the immigration policies being pursued by the government. Recent changes place further restrictions on visas for international students and their dependents, and require landlords to perform immigration status rent checks. These policies unfairly impact international students and form part of wider anti-immigrant sentiment.

Here is a selection of the action being taken by students and students’ unions across the country to stand in solidarity with international students:


Peggy Lim, International Students Officer, Sheffield Students' Union:

On the 17 November 2015, the students at the University of Sheffield will be walking out from their lectures at 10.30am to show their solidarity with all migrants against the unfair and discriminatory immigration rules. At Sheffield Students’ Union, we are running our #weareinternational campaign: we will be asking our students to post messages of solidarity on the big whiteboard at the plaza of the Students’ Union to gather the voices of all students to show how we believe that we are all international and nobody should be discriminated because of their nationalities and backgrounds. Our Students’ Union Officers will also be writing an open letter to the home office, because we appreciate how vital international students and migrants are to Sheffield and criticise the Home Office on policies that threaten the diversity of our universities and culture of acceptance in the UK. #students4migrants

In solidarity,

Sheffield Students’ Union Officers 2015/16


Yinbo Yu, Activities and Opportunities Officer, Union of UEA Students:

At UEASU, students will be attending a picket line on 17 November and asking all students to show solidarity by walking out of classes. We’ve written an open letter to UEA Vice-Chancellor to take a public stance in supporting international students. We’re asking students to put their names on ribbons and tied them up around ‘Solidarity with Migrants’ banner to show their support. We’re working with UEA Migrant Solidarity Campaign to provide alternative ways to help migrants - they will be holding a clothes sale to raise money in aid of this cause.


Raj Jeyaraj, Vice President Diversity, University of Strathclyde Students' Association:

We will have petitions for an international students guarantor scheme and STAR will be taking signups for volunteering. We will be distributing flyers on International students Employment options. There will be immigration benefits infographics given out. At 4pm there will be a solidarity meetup for students to talk to other students about immigration. We have arranged for food to be provided and local media to be present on the day.


Daniel Nikolla, President for Higher Education, City and Islington College Students' Union:

On 17 November students from City and Islington College and London Metropolitan University are walking out their classes in solidarity with the International Students, migrants and the refugee crisis.

The campaign is led by officers of the Student Unions of both institutions. 

On our preparation for the day, we have been giving leaflets in the campuses, putting posters up in different parts of the campus, speaking to as many students as possible and raising awareness about the Walk-Out.

As students’ representatives, we would not encourage our students to just walk out, but also educate them about the issues that migrants, international students and refugees are facing. Thus, the walk-out at 10:30am will be followed by an event at London Metropolitan University where International Students in leadership and others who are leading campaigns to help out on the refugee crisis will be organising workshops on different topics like:

  • International Students; right are under attack
  • ESOL Students demand an answer. Why cuts?!
  • Refugee Crisis and how we can volunteer
  • Prevent – What does it mean and Why is it opposed nationally?
  • International Students in Leadership
  • What’s next?

The campaign is expected to be supported by people with influence locally and nationally, including Nana Asante.


Aika Bugibayeva, Kingston Hill Officer, Kingston University Students' Union:

The Union of Kingston Students are supporting the Day of Solidarity that has been organised by NUS International Students’ Campaign and
ratified by NUS’ National Executive Council (NEC) who passed a motion in September to encourage students across the country to get involved. Students that are as appalled as we are at the government’s anti-immigration rhetoric, could join us to show their solidarity with international students, migrants, and refugees.

We are encouraging all students across all of our four campuses to walk out of their lectures, tutorials, seminars, labs, and classes on Tuesday 17 November 2015: the morning walk-out will be from 10:30 – 10:45am, and the afternoon walk-out will be from 2:30 – 2:45pm. If students are
participating in the action, they need to bring along their banners and placards, and tweet using the hashtag #students4migrants. We will protest in
front of the main entrances to each campus; at Kingston Hill we will protest in front of the Business School.

You can make your banners and placards on 16 November from 12-2pm at either the Union Space at Penrhyn Road or at the Business Atrium at
Kingston Hill.

Also, to continue tackling this issues, we will encourage students to email their local MPs or Lords, as a Union we will provide our
students with written template that is ready to be sent as an email to their MPs or Lords

Our activities coordinators will send around emails to students involved in sports, societies and volunteering, plus our course rep coordinator
will notify all course reps as well.


Natasha Brooks, Diversity Officer, Manchester Students' Union:

The University of Manchester Students’ Union is mobilising students for the Day of Solidarity. On Monday 16th of November there will be a banner making session from 6pm in Activities Space of the SU and then from there we’ll head out into the community to talk to students about the walk-out and encourage them to get involved. We are asking students to walk out of class at 12.30pm and meet at University Place to stand in solidarity with refugees, migrants and international students. There will be a short rally before we march down to meet with MMU students at All Saints Park to stand together in solidarity. We will be encouraging students to attend a follow-up event called Recognise Refugee Rights at University Place THB, 6-8pm, on the 19th of November at which the NUS International Students’ Officer will be speaking alongside Dr. Bashar, research associate at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI), Ruth Daniel, co-director of In Place of War and Gulwali Passarly, Afghan refugee and author of The Lightless Sky. This interactive discussion will be the launch of the Recognise Refugee Rights campaign that aims to highlight the complex and varied issues behind the refugee crisis and empower students to support refugees on a local and international level.


Davide Bertelli, VP International and Outreach, University of Plymouth Students' Union:

UPSU have been lobbying the three Plymouth MPs over the summer about changes to immigration rules and immigration. So far, only two of the MPs have replied: the MP for the University’s constituency has still not replied.  It is time we raise the profile of the 2,500 international students at Plymouth University and ask for the whole of the student body’s solidarity. 

On 17 November, I (VP International and Outreach), part-time officers and student activists will be holding a stall by the SU entrance and we will be handing out NUS produced flyers and specific flyers made for Plymouth University. We will be asking people to show support by writing their thoughts on white boards that will then be published on social media with the #Students4Migrants. We will be also taking contacts for people who want to be involved in future campaigns. 


Diogo Ventura, International Students' Officer, Reading Students' Union:

Before the announcement of the Walk-out plans, we have decided to join Mostafa and other officers in sending letters condemning the situation signed by students to our local MP’s. This took place in our Freshers’ week at the end of September. 

After the announcement, we have started heavily preparing for the Walk-out. In order to do that a plan was created with many different stages and objectives. Our first objective was to create an informative session in which students would be told about the current situation and possible development. For making this possible, guests from different areas were invited to give a speech: politicians (all local MP’s and other representatives) and Academia (professors from the field of International Relations). 

The second objective was to get students actively involved. This led us to contact STAR Society of University of Reading as well as the Reading refugee centre. Together with them a workshop is being prepared where students will have a direct contact with what is happening. Hopefully it will have enough impact to change a little bit the current apathy shown by the international community. 

University and College Union

The Campaign Day of Solidarity is also being supported by the UCU. In a statement they said:

'UCU are strongly supportive of the NUS campaign in defence of international students and stand in solidarity with international students and migrants against this government's attacks on their rights.

We have always appreciated the strong support that NUS members have given us, and we support NUS and their campaign objectives.

We are of course not able to ask our members to walk out of classes with students, but we would encourage universities and colleges to accommodate students to do so in any way possible.'


Follow the action of the International Students Campaign Day of Solidarity on Twitter via #Students4Migrants


Campaigns, Features, International

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