First class! Student who faced deportation from Bangor Universuty gains top degree result

Reporter:

Dale Spridgeon

A STUDENT who faced deportation earlier this year has achieved a first in her electronic engineering degree from Bangor University.

Back in February, Arfon MP Hywel Williams highlighted the plight of Shiromini Satkunarajah in the House of Commons and with Home Secretary Amber Rudd.

Shiromini, and her mother Roshani, were scheduled to be flown back to Sri Lanka after being denied asylum by the Home Office, just before the end of her degree.

They were detained in cells in Caernarfon, then transported to the Yarls Wood immigration removal centre in Bedford.

Her plight prompted of huge outpouring of support garnering 100,00 names in less than 24 hours and at the 11th hour the Home Office rescinded her deportation order allowing her to stay in the UK.

The 21-year old was described at the time by Bangor University’s Dr Iestyn Pierce head of the School of Electronic Engineering as one of the electronic engineering department’s “best students”.

Then, Plaid Cymru MP Mr Williams said the Home Office had shown “heartless indifference.” Bangor University’s Vice Chancellor John G Hughes joined the campaign along with the Bishop of Bangor, the Rt Rev Andy John, who said it had been a “travesty”.

The Home Office had twice refused asylum after Shiromini’s family fled the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009. She was then only 12 and on her father’s student visa. She was allowed to complete her education after he died in 2011.

Shiromini, who officially graduates on Thursday said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who’s supported me over the past few months.

“It has been a challenging time, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of goodwill I’ve received, both from the local community in and around Bangor and from further afield.

“I’m so pleased to have been able to successfully complete my Electronic Engineering Degree at Bangor University and attain a first in the subject.

“I’m now focused on enjoying my graduation ceremony which takes place this week and I look forward to applying the skills and knowledge I’ve gained through my course at Bangor to the jobs market.”

Hywel Williams MP said: “I’m extremely pleased to hear of Shiromini’s success and her fantastic result. Despite the challenges she faced earlier this year, her resolve and commitment to her studies has paid off.”

“I hope this will bring an end to the residency battle both Shiromini and her mother have been fighting for the last few months but my team and I will continue to support her in any way we can.”

“It’s good to share some positive news and I’m extremely grateful for the support shown to Shiromini, not only from Bangor University and the local community in Arfon, but from farther afield, including the thousands who signed the online petition.”

Dr Iestyn Pierce, Head of the School of Electronic Engineering, said: “Shiromini Satkuranajah has studied hard and has done exceptionally well during her time at Bangor University.

“She has also made a valued contribution to the community life of the of the University. We wish her well in whatever path she chooses in the future.”

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