News | Petition saves Syrian students

Leeds student Christine Gilmore has successfully prevented Syrian students across the UK from expulsion from universities.

Gilmore’s petition has received over 52,000 signatures. The third year, PhD Arabic literature student told LS: “we only expected a few thousand!”

The recent threat of expulsion for government-funded Syrian students became serious when the Syrian embassy in London closed down, leaving sponsored students unable to receive their tuition fees.

Gilmore, President of the Friends of Syria society, had many friends who were sent letters in January from Leeds University threatening them with expulsion if they were unable to pay the tuition fees.

She told LS: “we felt that it was under reported and that something should be done, because the British government were talking about helping Syrian students but not actually doing anything to back this promise up.”

The petition was started with the aim of enabling Syrian students to request deferrals and hardship grants. It resulted in the NUS Executive Committee collaborating with government ministers to create a policy that increased the support available to Syrian students.

Gilmore commented that “we are pleased with how universities responded to the government’s calls to provide more support.”

“We are now lobbying for the creation of an emergency fund for Syrian students in crisis to be established.”

Mehreen Afzal

Photo: Friends of Syria Society

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