we live in nasty times II

I probably would not usually promote a petition on my blog but I feel quite strongly about this. A while ago the London Metropolitan University was banned from accepting foreign students. The upshot of this was that, instead of banning them from accepting MORE students until they sorted out their procedures, the ban was immediate and  CURRENT students were effectively thrown out of the university and put into turmoil.

There is a very good article about the whole case here on Mute.

To my mind, the “discovery” that a few of the foreign students did not have valid visas – taken from a sample, not an exhaustive look at all of them – did not justify penalizing all of them. Or the whole student/staff body who will suffer from this development.

We live in nasty times indeed, when immigration is seen as the cause of all of our ills. Why, instead don’t we ask why Brit universities are so dependent upon recruiting high-paying international students?  Why are Brit consulates in some parts of the world complicit in issuing bogus visas? Why are students even counted as immigrants? And furthermore, why would not be in fact encouraging those who have studied here to stay on, and benefit from their knowledge and expertise? Not only do we not do that, we have even cut the previous 2-year stay-on period that used to come with successful completion of a degree.  This means that any projects left unfinished by  the end of a degree – a film, say, or a musical group, or a dance piece or a scientific project – will not be completed here in the UK, if ever. I’ve seen really dynamic artistic partnerships ripped apart by this new rule.

In my experience as a lecturer I have met many immensely bright and talented young people, who have much to contribute to the arts here in the UK.  In all truth, I felt sad to see them go back home, knowing how much their energy and creativity could have flourished here. Their home countries are lucky to have them back. We are impoverished.

The petition:  Full Amnesty Now – Reverse Revocation – Save London Met Petition | GoPetition

Derelict Spirit: Is this where we are now? Locked and bolted? Locked into a grubby and grim self made identity?