Home News Exeter to become first University of Sanctuary?

Exeter to become first University of Sanctuary?

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A student idea has been put forward to make Exeter a “University of Sanctuary.”

The scheme is part of the wider “City of Sanctuary” project, which aims to makes cities across the UK welcoming and safe places for refugees.

Laura Nettleton, Vice President of Be The Change society, outlined the need for the project. sying: “When refugees first arrive in a country they can find even the simplest things overwhelming, and this movement aims to help them with all aspects of their lives to help them through these day to day struggles.”

Speaking to Exeposé, Emma Finlinson, Project Coordinator of City of Sanctuary Exeter, said: “We want to offer students a chance to engage with refugees in the wider society and help make the city a more welcoming and integrating place for refugees.”

She added: “as the University is such a huge part of Exeter we feel getting the Guild on board would be a big step to helping Exeter achieve a city of sanctuary status.”

With societies such as Be The Change, Amnesty, British Red Cross and STAR already on board, the campaign hopes to gain further traction through the Student Ideas process.

When we went to press the Student Idea had 73 per cent voting they ‘strongly agreed’ with the idea, 12 per cent voting ‘agree,’ one per cent voting ‘neutral,’ seven per cent voting ‘disagree’, four per cent voting ‘strongly disagree’ and three per cent voting ‘confused.’ 73 votes had been cast.

Finlinson said: “With the Student Guild on board we could really push to help make Exeter the first University of Sanctuary, an educating body where students, administrators and educators are aware of issues and can offer support and education to those on campus and in the wider city to help refugees and asylum seekers in Exeter.

“We already have students involved putting on a series of talks, and trying to provide support to detainees in the Verne immigration detention centre in Weymouth.”

Matt Bate, VP Activities said: “Exeter is a diverse and vibrant university and the proposal to make Exeter the first ‘University of Sanctuary’ is a wonderful example of students taking responsibility for creating a welcoming environment for all. I look forward to the discussion at Guild Council.”

Emily Leahy, News Editor

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