Goldsmiths students hit by re-registration woes
Students and lecturers at Goldsmiths have criticised their college for their handling of re-registering international students.
International students are required to re-register with their college at the beginning of each term under the rules of the Points Based Immigration System (PBIS). This year, 206 students faced having their details passed to the UK Border Agency because they had not re-registered with the college.
Goldsmiths’ University and Colleges Union claims that the list had many problems and that the re-registration process was floored, preventing students from complying with the colleges requests. Among the difficulties encountered included students not receiving email reminders to complete re-registration online because they had problems accessing their account.
With the help of lecturers, the number of students on the list was reduced to 24 and is understood to have decreased further since.
A letter sent to Goldsmiths Management from NUS and the College’s UCU, said: “It is not the place of a university to act as an extension of the border police of this country and, as you may know, UCU nationally has a position of non-compliance with the PBIS. However, for the purposes of this letter, it is the specific implementation of the re-registration system at present with which we are concerned.”
A spokesperson for Goldsmiths College said: “At Goldsmiths we have implemented an online system so as not to inconvenience students. A key component of the notices sent to students was that we asked those who did experience difficulties or were uncertain of the requirements to contact the College directly. A small number of students did so but the vast majority of students, more than 80 per cent, were able to use the system without reported difficulty.
“Prior to asking the Departmental Administrators for their assistance with the remaining students who had not responded we e-mailed the students twice to their Goldsmiths account and also to their personal e-mail accounts where they have provided them. In addition, Goldsmiths has also sent letters to the remaining students, which now stands at a figure of 24.
“We have not carried out this exercise before but the success of the online re-enrolment which we carried out in 2010-11 for returning students would appear to indicate that the majority of students prefer using online services. We also now inform students at enrolment that they should expect formal communication from the College via their Goldsmiths e-mail in due course.”
James Haywood, Goldsmiths Students’ Union Campaigns and Communications Officer, said that there were only twelve people on this list at the time of going to print, and that Goldsmiths College had no intention of sending these names to the UK Border Agency at the current time.
He said: “For the moment we are happy that the college are not going to take such drastic action but it has proved us correct in opposing the PBIS system since it was introduced in 2009.
“The college’s actions have caused much distress to staff and students at Goldsmiths and yet again international students have been victim to unnecessary harassment and treated as suspects.”