Bordeaux Montaigne. The Presidency refuses to register refugee college students from Ukraine in 2022-2023

photo credit: AFP

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the collective Le Poing Levé has denounced the racist separation between refugee students of Ukrainian nationality and others who do not enjoy the same rights and university enrollment. The action of the elected officials of Le Poing Levé on the Boards of the Bordeaux Montaigne University allowed for the enrollment of 118 students who received a school certificate for the year 2021-2022.

But the registrations for the year 2021-2022 remain insufficient to obtain a residence permit from the Municipalities that request registration for the next year. In the absence of registration for the year 2022-2023, students run the risk of being expelled from French territory by notification of the OQTF.

At the Councils of the University of Bordeaux Montaigne that took place on Thursday 16 June and Friday 17 June (Committee for Training and University Life; Board of Directors), the 7 elected members of Poing Levé therefore took a motion for the enrollment of 118 students in 2022-2023. Here is the Motion presented by the elected members of the Le Poing Lévé list:

The motion was necessary to move forward with registration procedures for 2022-2023 because the situation has not changed for several weeks. In fact, in a document dated May 11, the presidency guarantees the enrollment of 24 students for the year 2022-2023: “These students have been identified to be able to enroll in UBM courses relevant to their course and with vacancies available for the start of the 2022 academic year”. Even for these 24 students, no registration procedure has yet been opened.

As of May 11, there are no longer 24, but 118 students enrolled in 2021-2022 for whom enrollment conditions for the next year remain uncertain as no procedure for treatment files has been implemented.

It was only at the Councils of June 16 and 17, when the elected Le Poing Levé presented the Motion, that the presidency clarified the situation and its position. She declares “in any case, we’re not sure we’ll be able to enroll them next year,” even going back to the enrollment guarantees she gave for the first 24 students. She eventually refused to put the Motion on the agenda and even refused to put it to a vote.

The presidency argues during the Councils that “the university did its best, now we have to pressure the other universities and the city hall”. We understand that the university lacks places and resources to accommodate all students, but it seems to us, however, that the position of the presidency is inconsistent. The decline of the presidency has the direct effect of blocking the procedures of refugee students with the city hall, preventing them from continuing their studies and, above all, exposing them to OQTFs. For good reason, “pressing the city hall” would first of all involve issuing school certificates for the next year, in order to allow applications to obtain a residence permit. In this case, municipalities could hardly refuse to issue a residence permit to 118 students. Far from having done its “maximum”, the presidency’s stance abandons students to their situation: when they apply for a residence permit at the prefecture, it asks for university registration and when they go to university, it refuses to register.

The enrollment of the 118 students for the year 2022-2023 at the Bordeaux Montaigne University would be a first point of support for their regularization, and would also be a point of support for the enrollment of all refugee students in other universities in France. More generally, Le Poing Levé defends the enrollment and regularization of all refugee students, without condition of nationality or selection, to defend the model of a free university, open to all.

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