Skip to main content

CROSS CAMPUS RALLY AND PRESS CONFERENCE TO STOP DEPORTATION OF YORK SCHOLAR

Posted in

For Immediate Release:

CROSS CAMPUS RALLY AND PRESS CONFERENCE TO STOP DEPORTATION OF YORK SCHOLAR

2pm
26 March 2008
Vari Hall, York University

Students from campuses across Toronto will descend on York University on Wednesday afternoon to protect one of their own. Sarah (Saintsierra Leonty), 20, a student of International Development Studies at York University faces imminent deportation to St. Lucia unless her application to stay on Humanitarian grounds is accepted.

"Our campuses should be open to all residents regardless of their immigration status. As a student union, we stand in opposition to Sarah's deportation and call on Citizenship and Immigration Canada to let her stay in Canada on a permanent basis" said Gilary Massa, VP Equity of the York Federation of Students.

"Constituencies within Universities and colleges," added Francisco Villegas, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education Student Caucus, OISE/UT, Co-Chair, "including academic departments are expressing that post-secondary education must be considered an essential service available to all regardless of status documents".
Sarah has built substantial links in the community where she has lived since the age of 11.

As Darshika Selvasiam noted, "Sarah was in my tutorial last year, for 1430 and I am shocked and appalled that this is happening to her. She is an EXCEPTIONAL INDIVIDUAL. I will definitely be there to support HER!!!"

Rallying supporters and friends are demanding that Citizenship and Immigration expedite Sarah's Humanitarian and Compassionate Application, thereby granting her permanent residency in Canada.

"As Black students, most of us immigrants, we already beat the odds to access university education in the first place. Sarah jumped the hurdles, overcame the challenges and beat the barriers to be here; she deserves to stay. We add our collective voice to the chorus demanding Sarah be granted residency based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds" said Saron Ghebressellassie of the United Black Students at Ryerson.

In addition to volunteering at Beatrice House, a local women's shelter, Sarah also works at a local café and knitting shop. After winning the Herb Carnegie Award and recognition from the Lieutenant-Governor for community service and work as a volunteer, the former Student Council President was forced to quit University when she could not afford the high international fees.

Sarah was selected last August for the Youth in Motion scholarship supported by the federal government to carry on her studies at any Canadian college. Of 72 high-achieving applicants, Sarah was one of 12 granted a scholarship.

The pending deportation and her lack of status means that Sarah might not benefit from this selection.
"What's even more unfortunate is that this is not an isolated case, college and university students are denied access and face detention and deportation everyday. This is a travesty!" said Faria Kamal, one of the organizers of the event.
"On May 3rd, students from campuses across the GTA will take to the streets to fight for the rights of non-status peoples access to education, health and social services" said Jen Hassum, Chair, Canadian Federation of Students, Ontario.
-30-

Organized No One Is Illegal – Toronto – http://toronto.nooneisillegal.orgnooneisillegal@riseup.net
For further information, please contact: Faria Kamal, 647.206.8536

Presently endorsed by:

Abigail Salole (contract faculty, Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga)
Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, Professor, Political Science, York University
Assistant Prof. Anna Agathangelou (Political Science, York)
Atkinson Students Association
Campus Riot
Canadian Federation of Students
Craig Fortier, (Department of Community & Liberal Studies) Sheridan College
CUPE 3902 - Educational Workers Union University of Toronto
CUPE 3903 -International Solidarity Working Group
Daniel Schugurensky, Professor, Adult Education and Counseling Psychology, OISE/UT
Eve Haque (Department of Sociology, York)
Fair Trade Coalition at York University
George Dei, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/UT
International Development Studies Students Association
Kari Dehli, Chair, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/UT
Kristine Pearson Sociology and Equity Studies in Education Graduate Studies Liaison Officer, OISE/UT
Macdonald Scott, Carranza Barristers and Solicitors
Margrit Eichler, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/UT
Michael Nijhawan (Department of Sociology, York)
No One Is Illegal-Toronto
OPIRG Toronto
OPIRG York
Paul Olson, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/UT
Peter Sawchuk, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/UT
Prof. Anna Willats (George Brown College)
Prof. David Mcnally, York
Prof. Luin Goldring, York
Prof. Nick Garside (contract faculty, Environmental Studies, York)
Prof. Pablo Idahosa, York
Prof. Peter Nyers (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, McMaster University)
Roxana Ng, Professor, Adult Education and Counseling Psychology, OISE/UT
Radhika Mongia, Professor, Political Science, York University
Sherene Razack, Professor, Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, OISE/UT
Sikh Activist Network
Student Christian Movement , York University Unit
Students Against Israeli Apartheid - York University
Sustainable Purchase Coalition - York University
TBLGay
The Centre for Women & Trans People at York
The Centre for Women and Trans People at York
The Peterborough Coalition for Palestine
Transgender, Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay Association at York University
Trent Graduate Students Union
United Black Students at Ryerson
Upping the Ante
Urban Alliance
York Federation of Students
York for Burma
York Graduate Students Association
York Sociology Graduate Association
York University Faculty Association - Race Equity Caucus