High court backs university after students are expelled

Published date: 24 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THIRTY-three international students who were kicked off their Glyndwr University courses for not doing enough work have failed in a High Court challenge to the college’s decision.

The mostly Asian accountancy students were part of a wider group of 56 who were accused of poor attendance or not signing up for enough modules.

Threatened with expulsion at the beginning of this month, they secured a High Court injunction preventing the Wrexham-based university from taking away their immigration visa sponsorship.

But when the case reached the court again on Friday, a senior judge rejected their legal challenge to Glyndwr’s decision-making process.

Ordering that each pay £500 in legal costs, Mr Justice Blake cancelled an injunction which had prevented the university stripping the 33 of their immigration sponsorship.

The decision means their status in the UK will be reviewed by the Home Office, which will decide whether or not they can stay.

However, there was a reprieve for another 23 students, who were told their cases would be looked at again by course bosses.

In a two-day hearing in London, the students’ barrister, Al Mustakim, told the judge that they had all paid for their courses and travelled to the UK to study at a school in London, but registered with Glyndwr.

However, they were given only minimal time to respond when they received letters informing them of their poor attendance or failure to sign up to enough courses, the barrister said.

The university said that, in order to remain on their courses and have their sponsorship maintained, they had to attend at least 80 per cent of lessons and sign up for three courses per term.

Mr Mustakim said many of the students had been ill or had been unable to sign in when classes were spot-checked because they were on the toilet.

Attendance records in some cases had been distorted by the way they were calculated, he said, and others had not been allowed to do the necessary three modules.

“Virtually all the students in the first semester were only permitted to do one subject,” he said.

“It is the crucial fact, because that distorts the attendance and the requirement to do three subjects in a term.

“To punish them, it is unjust. It is as simple as that. It is a simple fact and a simple injustice of the system.”

Giving judgment, Mr Justice Blake rejected the students’ generic challenge to the way the system was followed.

“The balance of justice doesn’t favour compelling the university to maintain sponsorship of those it doesn’t consider eligible to receive it, applying the immigration laws,” he said.

He found in favour of two students whose cases were unique on facts, but university lawyers said they would look again at the cases of the remaining students too.

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