Myself along with my fellow elected officers at YUSU are incredibly encouraged by yesterday’s announcement from the university that there will be a number of fully funded scholarships available specifically for refugees affected by the crisis in Syria. 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. We’re proud to represent students at York in an environment where our students’ views are considered.
In response to the University's statement I raised concerns with the University about support for any current students whose funding is unexpectedly affected by the situation in Syria. We have been assured that a range of support including but not limited to financial assistance is available. Where a student is affected support can be accessed from the Student Support Hub. Your students' union will continue an open dialogue with the University to ensure that these services remain easily accessible and students are appropriately sign-posted to the support they need.
As YUSU, we’re committed to providing support in our own way too. We are about to embark upon our busiest period as nearly 4000 new students join us in York and on campus to begin their university journey. Throughout this time we will be running the following initiatives:
· We are aware that there are key clothing and utility items that are in short supply in the refugee camps. We will establish a collection point in Your Space at the Student Centre, facilitated by RAG. We will publicise the list of items most urgently needed, collect them and work with local charity Yorkshire Aid to distribute this.
· As well as a shortage of important utilities, there is a desperate shortage of necessary medicine and medical treatment in the refugee camps. RAG will collect throughout the freshers period and beyond for Unicef who are specifically working to alleviate this issue.
· YUSU will work with colleges to coordinate giving.
I feel a positive and decisive set of actions led by YUSU and incorporating colleges, taking place during freshers shows new students who we are and that we will take action.
Ben Leatham - York Students’Union President.
For more information on the University's announcement: