NYU Student Faces Deportation Over Tuition -- Tell NYU to Confer Their Degree Immediately!

NYU Student Faces Deportation Over Tuition -- Tell NYU to Confer Their Degree Immediately!

August 4, 2020
This petition made change with 1,196 supporters!

Why this petition matters

We, members of the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC-UAW Local 2110) and the GSOC International Students Caucus, condemn NYU’s refusal to confer the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery to an international student from Libya and former GSOC member. We call on the university to immediately confer their degree.

The student joined NYU in 2012 and has successfully completed and fully paid for several degrees. Most recently, they have faced difficulties in obtaining funds for their degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). In May 2020, they fulfilled all academic requirements for the completion of the DDS program and finished the degree in the top 15% of their class, but, due to an outstanding balance of $167, 306, NYU refuses to confer the student their hard-won degree. Without their degree in hand, the student is unable to begin working their dental residency and is faced with the potential of losing their Optional Practical Training (OPT) and being deported to Libya in the next 60 days, which is currently an active war zone. The student has reached out to top levels of university leadership but has not received any response. 

NYU prides itself on being “home to the highest number of international students in the United States.” Recently, NYU joined other universities in the U.S. in what they claim to have been a fight on behalf of international students against the ICE guidelines of July 6—a fight “coincidentally” waged, as stated by the International and Immigrant Student Workers Alliance (IISWA), “when their own tuition incomes were at stake.” Yet, now that one of their international students has been cut off from family and finances due to the ongoing war in their home country, and that their situation has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, NYU has so far failed to support them. In addition to denying the student their degree, NYU has refused to coordinate a viable payment plan that would allow the student to receive their degree and thus enable them to begin work and finance their outstanding balance. Rather, the university has chosen to charge the student late fees and to transfer their balance to collection agencies unless they pay a substantial amount of what they owe.

The university’s actions are putting the student at risk of deportation and losing everything they have worked to secure in the past decade. We call on NYU to fulfill the following demands:

  1. NYU must immediately respond to the student’s correspondence.
  2. NYU must immediately confer the student their degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery so that the student can begin working and maintain their OPT status.
  3. NYU must waive the student’s outstanding balance. At the very least, the university must significantly reduce it and renegotiate a feasible payment plan. 

GSOC members have begun a mutual aid fund for the student to help them pay their outstanding balance. You may contribute to that here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-nyu-student-facing-deportation.   

Join us in calling on NYU to immediately grant the student their degree, and to waive all outstanding balances! 


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