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GTA CAMPUSES CELEBRATE STAY ON DEPORTATION OF YORK SCHOLAR! Students and Faculty Continue to Organise to Demand Status for All!

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March 28, 2008

Demonstrations Win Stay of Deportation for Sarah Leonty - As the Fight for Don't Ask, Don't Tell at Post Secondary Heats Up!

TORONTO- Shaken by the outrage of protestors who poured into York University's Vary Hall on Wednesday, Immigration Canada was forced to grant Sarah (Saint-Sierra) Leonty a 2 year stay in Canada while her Humanitarian and Compassionate Application is processed. Sarah's mother and two younger siblings slated for deportation yesterday, had their deportation cancelled and were also granted a 2 year stay.

The crowd consisted of students and faculty from York, U of T and Ryerson all demanding that Sarah be allowed to stay. Student and labour unions, along with faculty and community organisations took to the mic calling on York University to declare itself a sanctuary school to be free of Immigration Enforcement.

Amidst chants, echoing "Education, Not Deportation! Access Not Fear" and "Status for Sarah! Status for All!" University President Shoukri was pressured to issue a statement in support of this case.

Sarah bravely stated, "This is not just about my case. York University should take the lead in implementing a Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy so that all students can access education, regardless of their immigration status."

"It's a shame that undocumented students like Sarah, people who have lived, worked and participated in communities here can be treated as second class residents. Economically they are one of the most marginalized groups, yet post-secondary institutions demand they pay impossibly high international student fees," said Jen Hassum, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students- Ontario.

"As faculty, I'm inspired to see students organizing to reclaim the university as their space. York should be a safe place of learning and a sanctuary zone that is free of Immigration Enforcement" said David McNally, Chair of York's Political Science Department.