Tory Racism: Paul Scully MP (Sutton & Cheam) Supports Open University Ban on Cuban Students!

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From: SCULLY, Paul <paul.scully.mp@parliament.uk>
Subject: Re: Help end the Open University bar on Cuban students
Date: Wednesday, August 02, 2017 12:17

Dear Adrian

Thank you for contacting me about the Open University’s use of a restricted countries list in its application process.
The Open University is an autonomous institution and it is for them to make decisions about how best to meet the needs of their students and structure their workforce. As such, I know that the Secretary of State has not held any meetings with the Open University regarding its use of a restricted countries list in its application process. I welcome, however, that higher education institutions are responsible for meeting their legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010. I know the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is investigating whether the Open University is in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and I will continue to follow this matter closely.
The UK welcomes international students and I am encouraged that the number of international students studying at UK universities are at record highs. There were over 170,000 entrants to UK higher education institutions for the sixth year running. The latest Home Office data shows that university-sponsored visa applications have increased by around 11 per cent since 2011. International students make an important contribution to the UK’s higher education sector, both economically and culturally. There remains no limit to the number of international students who can come to the UK to study.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Best wishes

Paul Scully MP

Sent: 27 July 2017 11:23:18
To: SCULLY, Paul
Subject: Help end the Open University bar on Cuban students

From: Adrian Wyles – Sutton and Cheam

Dear Paul Scully ,

I am writing to draw your attention to the Open University’s policy of barring applications from Cuban students, and to ask you to intervene urgently to end this discriminatory and illegal policy.

The Open University has recently confirmed in writing that they operate a policy to bar applications from Cuban students. In a letter, dated 24 April 2017, they say the policy is in place to avoid repercussions from US blockade legislation and claim to be “taking necessary precautions to meet with regulation and protect both itself and its employees. Those steps include the OU not trading with those countries impacted by what is often called US ‘comprehensive’ sanctions and embargoes.”

This policy is illegal under UK anti discrimination laws as set out in the 2010 Equality Act as it is being indiscriminately applied to students of a particular nationality. By taking this action the OU is also seemingly complying with US blockade legislation over and above UK equality laws.

The British Government has powers enshrined in its own ‘antidote’ law, the Protection of Trading Interests Order passed in 1996, to counter the effects of extra-territorial blockade laws by penalising British companies who comply with US legislation before UK law.

Please will you raise this issue with the British government and ask it to invoke the 1996 Protection of Trading Interests Act to pressure the Open University to end their discriminatory policy against Cuban students. Please will you also write to Open University’s Secretary Keith Zimmerman (university-secretary@open.ac.uk) and ask the organisation to abide by UK equalities law which bar discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

Yours sincerely

Adrian Wyles

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