The advertisement on the Cambridge website has since been taken down.
Campaign group Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) have called for the University of Cambridge to stop promoting a recruitment message from a Home Office sub-group Border Force which is allegedly calling for academics to work on research in digitising border security in the UK.
URBC have expressed outrage at this recruitment effort, as evidenced by a Facebook post from last month which included an email sent by sub-group the “Border Vision Advisory Group” to academics at Cambridge University, as well as an email template addressed to Cambridge University urging the institution to not work with the Home Office on this venture.
The email in question, screenshots of which were included in the Facebook post, called for academics looking to “work with BF and the wider Home Office to drive theoretical research into propositions for cutting edge border solutions”. The post also links to a webpage at the Cambridge Centre for Data Driven Discovery which allegedly had an advertisement for said recruitment, however this page has since been taken down.
The group have opposed the recruitment effort, arguing that the UK’s “xeno-racist border regime” has resulted in countless deaths of migrants trying to enter the UK. By choosing to work with the Home Office, the group argues in the provided template that Cambridge University would be complicit in the countless deaths caused by the country’s strict border control, including through the deportation of migrants during the current pandemic.
Not only this, but the group argues that engaging in these types of border control efforts add to a “hostile environment” not just for many of the University’s international staff and students, but for the greater migrant populace at large. This may not be an issue entirely localised in Cambridge, and the Covid-19 pandemic has once again brought questions of the issues asylum seekers face living in Glasgow. Earlier this year, hundreds of refugees living in Glasgow were moved by a Home Office contractor to stay in hotels for the duration of the lockdown. The Park Inn hotel stabbing in June was allegedly motivated by poor conditions, with many saying they were barely given notice of the move, being moved to more densely populated spaces with no support pay, which in turn has had a knock-on effect on their mental health.
For anyone interested in learning about URBC and their aims, more information can be found on their website online here.