On World Access to Higher Education Day in November 2020, Bath celebrated becoming a University of Sanctuary, an award in recognition of their considerable efforts to welcome people seeking sanctuary and provide the most accessible and supportive environment possible for them.
Joining a list of higher education institutions, Bath was awarded for their initiatives on the same day that universities across the world raise awareness about the inequalities sanctuary students face in access and success in higher education.
The main focus for the University has been on collaborative campaigning and fundraising work between their Students’ Union and staff and students, new teaching and research initiatives, and welcoming and providing an open environment to people fleeing violence and persecution.
Professor Peter Lambert, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) who has led this work explained: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded ‘University of Sanctuary’ by City of Sanctuary. This is a tremendous achievement and accolade for the University and is the result of the initiatives and actions that have come together over recent years in response to the refugee crisis.
You can see Professor Peter Lambert speak about the award here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4-kzEu0L9E&feature=emb_title
Nikki Walters, South & South West Regional Coordinator for City of Sanctuary added: “It is impressive to see the support this work has received from all levels of the university, and particularly the support from the student body. It is a fantastic achievement and the appraisal panel was thoroughly impressed with the great work taking place at the university.”
As well as PGT scholarships, the University of Bath has made a commitment to teaching and learning about sanctuary matters. Several courses, including a new MSc Humanitarianism, Conflict & Development, highlight sanctuary matters, with students playing a direct role in responding to mass displacement, and setting up projects working with displaced people in places including the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
At the time of the award, the University of Bath was supporting 23 students with sanctuary-seeking backgrounds. Since the University received its award, the sanctuary working group meet regularly to continue all the work relating to forced migrants, for example, they are increasing their collaboration with the local community: https://www.bath.ac.uk/campaigns/sanctuary-at-bath/
You can read the full article from the university here: https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/bath-becomes-university-of-sanctuary-for-refugees-and-asylum-seekers/
And read more about the university’s support and an interview with a current sanctuary scholar here: https://www.bath.ac.uk/case-studies/how-university-action-and-support-is-helping-refugees-and-asylum-seekers-to-build-a-better-life/