On behalf of YUSU Ben Leatham, YUSU President, has released a statement detailing the University’s plans to support refugees in the Mediterranean.
There will be a number of scholarships available for refugees fleeing the crisis in Syria who would like to learn in a safe environment at the University. The scholarship packages will total £500,000 and include a fee waiver of the entire cost of tuition, as well as £8,100 living costs.
Those who wish to study at the University as part of a scholarship package will be given “scholar rescue status” and three undergraduates over the next three years will benefit from the scheme. Support for students currently at the University whose funding is affected unexpectedly by the crisis is also to be given, including financial help.
Professor Koen Lamberts, the vice chancellor of the University, has said: “Our commitment to helping refugees reflects the University’s core values of justice and equality. We are facing a major refugee crisis in Europe and the University of York will play its part in providing a safe and secure environment for displaced people to study, research and prosper.”
There is to be a collection point for food and clothing items at YourSpace in the Student Centre which is being organised by RAG. The University will be working with Yorkshire Aid to distribute the items. RAG is also looking to collect for Unicef throughout Freshers’ week and the beginning of term.
This money is aimed at helping to treat those in need of medical attention and get vital medication to them. Leatham wrote: “It has become apparent over the past weeks that this is an issue that has really captured and engaged the York student body. “It’s important to our students and a strong, decisive response that reflects the University’s commitment to the core values of justice and equality is welcomed.”
The University is also launching a Give As You Earn scheme to encourage staff to contribute to the new refugee scholarship fund. Research is being done in the University into the migrant crisis by Dr Simon Parker and Dr Simon Robins, from the Department of Politics and Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) respectively.
The two have been awarded funding from the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Urgency Call to conduct the research. Dr Parker’s research is looking into the human cost of the Mediterranean crisis. Dr Robins’ research is looking into generating data so that there can be a systematic collection of information about migrant bodies that have been found, and information from people looking for loved ones who have gone missing.
Across Britain the public have been trying to do their bit to help with the crisis with one in three Britons having contributed to the relief effort in some way, according to figures from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). Many were moved to help by seeing the image of three year old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up drowned on the beach in Turkey.
About 500,000 migrants have been moving to other countries during the crisis to flee for safety. The European Union recently struck a deal to relocate 120,000 refugees across the continent using mandatory quotas.