28th September

management. In 2010 the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government has established a cap on immigration a central political pledge. Theresa May, Home Secretary, has claimed that two-thirds of non European Union migrants in Britain are students. They number somewhere around 370,000 people.

The university's role is not the German idealist notion of the university as a place to promote national culture but rather one where border control and the policing of limits of who can belong enter the classroom, including the requirement for university teachers to make their class registers available to the Border Agency. This threatens not only to corrode trust between students and teachers but makes university teachers part of the infrastructure of immigration control. This is what the opponents of these measures are resisting and what makes the Students Not Suspects campaign significant. They offer an alternative vision that refuses the creeping erosion of the rights of international students while arguing for a critical understanding of the place of higher education in a world where population mobility is at an unprecedented level.

Anti-immigrant indignation levelled against overseas students is self-defeating in practical economic terms. Organisations like Migration Watch UK who applauded the government's crackdown claim not to be anti-overseas students. Rather, they want 'legitimate students' to study in Britain but


insist that they return home afterwards. This ignores the fact that students are not simply 'cash cows.' During these formative years student also fall love, meet life partners and sometimes have children and imagine their futures here. Many of the greatest minds in Britain - from Nobel Laureates to cultural theorists - have had this experience.

Will students continue to come when experiences like the one I mentioned earlier start to get back - as they surely will - to potential students looking at their options to study abroad? In the context of the cuts in the public financing of Universities this threatens to close off the financial potential for universities to balance the shortfall by recruiting abroad. Overseas students - who are bearing the brunt of these measures - will simply take up options elsewhere and take their financial contributions with them. Returning to the room full of young scholars - many of whom are from different parts of the world - the dynamism and energy on display will be damaged if restrictions of student migration result in fewer overseas students in the future. The result will threaten the cosmopolitanism which feeds the exchange of ideas that is the intellectual lifeblood of universities in Britain.

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7 October