University of Sanctuary NUI Galway Rallies Behind Science Student Facing Deportation

By Ashyle Cota

Chants of appeal to the Minister of Justice and Equality could be heard on campus in NUI Galway on Thursday afternoon as students showed their support for Mdudzi Ngwenya who faces deportation to Zimbabwe.

Mdudzi is a first year Science student in NUI Galway and a well-known local figure promoting the arts scene in Galway and the integration of refugees.

The march was held from 1 to 2pm on Thursday February 13 and was organised by the Student Union.

“Seeing as we were designated University of Sanctuary a couple of months ago, back in November, it’s really important to stay true to that message and support students when they are facing a difficult time.” said Claire Austick, President of NUI Galway’s Student Union.

She said that the student body was essentially calling on the Department for Justice & Equality for Humanitarian Leave to Remain so Mdudzi can stay here and continue his studies on campus.

“Obviously, we’re against deportation, particularly for students who are in college and they are studying, because it’s about access to education. We don’t want them to stop their education and then have to go back to, essentially, the country that they were fleeing from. So, we’re against deportation and we want essentially the Department of Equality & Justice to acknowledge the Places of Sanctuary Initiative and [ensure] that they don’t issue deportations anymore.”

This comes after a similar protest in Galway city by various organisation against the young man’s deportation and a public petition that has almost reached its 3,000 signature target.

A Humanitarian Leave to Remain when there is the possibility of deportation can be granted by the Minister of Justice & Equality based on several factors, including the character and conduct of the person both within and outside the State, humanitarian considerations, employment prospects and any representations duly made by or on behalf of the person.

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