Glasgow awarded University of Sanctuary status

Rachel Sandison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement and the University’s Sanctuary Champion is proud to announce that the University of Glasgow has been awarded University of Sanctuary status.

University of Sanctuary status recognises good practice in organisations that facilitate access to higher education for forced migrants. It is part of the City of Sanctuary UK initiative, which promotes the UK as a welcoming place of safety for all those displaced forcibly from their homes.

As the University's Sanctuary Champion, I am delighted that the University of Glasgow has been recognised for our work in this area and that we could mark this tremendous achievement with an official award ceremony at the end of 2022, a recording of which we are thrilled to share with you today.

Our provision in this area includes offering 20 Sanctuary Scholarships and extending our widening participation commitments for asylum seekers and refugees, including having named points of contact who can provide advice, information and guidance even at the pre-application stage.

We are also embedding a culture of sanctuary into University policies and processes, such as adjusted offers of entry for those who have experienced forced migration, fee waivers, dedicated financial support and developing curriculum content based on lived experience. We also want to ensure that our admissions and visa compliancy teams have the means by which to handle any applications quickly and with as few barriers as possible.

The award recognises our work with external networks such as the Council for at Risk Academics (CARA), Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) and within our own community, through Student Action for Refugees (STAR) and our Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet). Recent GRAMNet activity is featured in this issue of University of Glasgow Connect.

As summarised by Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, "The University of Glasgow is sending this powerful message today, that it is an open, welcoming, and hospitable institution, with a proud history of reaching a hand of friendship to refugees."

However, we absolutely recognise that this work cannot be done in isolation. We need to work alongside other institutions, cross-sector organisations and national governments to maximise our efforts and we will continue to engage with others from across the sector to advocate for those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and to coordinate collective activity over issues such as educational pathways, wellbeing and emotional support, immigration requirements and student finance.

We are proud that this award recognises our achievements to date; however, it also holds us accountable to delivering ambitious objectives in the future. Now, our focus must be on going even further and faster to provide sanctuary for all who require it within our community.