With Luqman’s permission, we are publishing the letter he received from the Home Office rejecting his fresh application to stay in the UK.
Last week students at Luqman’s university staged a three day sit-in at the conference centre on campus. They demanded the institution give its backing to Luqman’s case. After negotiations, the students published the university management’s offer and their response:
The University of Sussex’s offer, and our response
FROM THE UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT: REQUESTS IN RELATION TO THE BRAMBER HOUSE ACTION
The University recognises the support by staff and students for Luqman Onikosi and understands the strong feelings that many of our campus community has in relation to his plight. Although the University is unable to influence the decision of the Home Office in relation to Mr Onikosi’s visa, we are sympathetic to his position and that of his supporters.
Last night a meeting was held with the PVC of Learning, Professor Clare Mackie, four representatives of Mr Onikosi’s supporters and two of the Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers. PVC Mackie listened to the group and following this meeting, the University has considered the points and responded below.
1. Although the University appreciates the group’s position in relation to Mr Onikosi’s visa status, the University is not able to make any further public statement in respect to the Home Office. The University has around 2000 students and 90 members of staff who require a special visa in order to study and work in the UK. We cannot do anything which risks the visa status of these people.
2. The University believes it currently has an inclusive Teaching and Learning strategy. All staff have the academic freedom to pursue their own discipline interests, without the constraints or input from University management.
However, we will conduct a comprehensive review of all curricula to ensure that they represent the truly global institution that Sussex is. PVC Mackie will raise this matter at the Teaching and Learning Committee meeting next week. The Committee will ask all Directors of Teaching and Learning, in each of our academic schools, to assess the current module reading list and review all curricula.
3. We have heard the group’s points in relation to the Government’s Prevent agenda. The University’s governing Council, of which the Students’ Union President is a member, is required to ensure that Sussex is compliant with the Government’s requirements. We will ensure Prevent is raised as an agenda item at the next Council meeting in April so as to ensure the concerns of the group, via the Students’ Union President, is heard.
Thank you for the swift response. Whilst we appreciate your concessions and concerns we feel that many of our demands have been overlooked, and that University management has not done everything in their power to support our campaign.
Please find our response below.
1. Award Luqman his MA.
The University’s response has not addressed our demand that they award Mr Luqman Onikosi his MA in Global Political Economy. We demand that the University award him his MA.
2. End collaboration with the Home Office, including legally and politically challenging Prevent and International Student Licensing. We also demand that the University publicly state your opposition to Luqman’s deportation.
We believe that the University’s claim that “the University is not able to make any further public statement in respect to the Home Office” is disingenuous. Whilst we do not want to risk the status and safety of other international students and staff, we still demand that the University stands with us against the Home Office by issuing a statement.
Whilst we realise that the University of Sussex cannot take direct action against the rulings of the Home Office, it is within your power to release a statement stating your opposition to certain aspects of Home Office legislation on moral grounds. We demand that the University release this statement as soon as possible to sHome Office Off Campushow an understanding of the University’s obligation to us as students.
We welcome the University’s proposal to raise Prevent as an agenda item for the next Council meeting. However, in reality, this is no more than words. We demand that Prevent is put at the top of the Agenda and that there is significant student representation of our choosing at the Council meeting where they will discuss Prevent. We demand an open meeting where all students can attend as observers and any Student Rep and Student Union staff should be able to speak freely and be heard on this matter.
3. Convert the 50 fee scholarships for refugees into full scholarships including living support
We demand 50 full scholarships for refugees and asylum seekers. In addition to the 50 Syrian English language scholarships that you have launched, which we fully support, we want 50 full refugee scholarships. We demand the University cover full tuition fees and living costs for 50 refugees and asylum seekers to study any degree they wish at the University of Sussex.
4. Conduct an immediate review of curriculum with the Sussex school of Global Studies Initiative: Decolonizing Education: Towards Academic Freedom In Pluriversality (DETAFIP).
The University’s proposal to “conduct a comprehensive review of all curricula to ensure that they represent the truly global institution that Sussex is” is a welcome step in the right direction, but we do not believe it goes far enough. We demand that this review and following changes must be done in close partnership with the already established Global Studies initiative “Decolonizing Education: Towards Academic Freedom In Pluriversality” (DETAFIP). We know we are much stronger working together, and that student and staff engagement and participation in the matter will make this infinitely more fruitful.
Finally, we demand an open meeting with University management as soon as possible to discuss the above proposals. This must take place before the Easter break.
Home Office Off Campus
- You can help Luqman appeal for leave to remain in the UK by supporting our crowdfunding appeal for legal expenses.
In 2007 Luqman Onikosi came to the UK from Nigeria to study for a degree in Economics and International Relations at Sussex University. Whilst studying, he was diagnosed with chronic liver disease as a result of Hepatitis B. After graduating he got a job at the Nigerian High Commission in London, until 2012, when his illness flared up and he was unable to continue working.
At this stage Luqman put in application for formal leave to remain in the UK, on medical grounds. To maintain his health, every six months Luqman must undergo a liver biopsy, liver function ultrasound scan, a muscle reflex test, a Hep B load test, Fibrosis score test, ALT Score test, E antigen test and liver function test. Effective treatment for the condition, which requires careful monitoring, is not available in Nigeria. He has already lost two brothers, both living in Nigeria, to the same disease.
Theresa May and the Home Office threatened to deport Luqman after refusing his leave to remain application. A campaign mobilised to successfully oppose this. With the support of a lawyer working pro bono he was able to submit a fresh leave to remain application on human rights grounds, and remain in the country while the Home Office considered his case.
In 2014 he returned to Sussex to study for a Masters in Global Political Economy, funded by a crowdfunding campaign. In May 2015, whilst he was writing his dissertation, the university was informed by the Home Office that he no longer had the right to study because his application had been rejected. The university suspended him, and a spell of bad health forced Luqman back into hospital for 3 months. However, Luqman himself was never informed by the Home Office of his application status. Only in Late January 2016 did he obtain a copy of a letter, dated May 2015, telling him his application had been rejected. He is now at risk of detention and deportation at any time.
If deported to Nigeria, a country without the ability to provide him with the care he needs to stay alive, he is likely to suffer the same fates as his two brothers before him. The Home Office has passed a death sentence against this young man.
We now call on them to reverse their decision, and immediately grant Luqman leave to remain in the UK.
Please help Luqman challenge this decision by supporting our crowdfunding appeal for legal expenses.