Indian students of 'sham' US varsity launch petition campaign
Facing the prospect of deportation following the closure of a "sham" university in California, hundreds of its Indian students have launched a campaign to seek help from the US authorities.
Indians, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, make up about 95 percent of students of Tri-Valley University in the Silicon Valley, which was shut down after US authorities charged it with selling student visas to anyone willing to pay.
"We respectfully plead with you not to penalise us or our families and bring shame to our entire family and the village/towns we come from, by deporting (removing) us from the US," the students said in the petition to the Department of Homeland Security.
This would also cause them "loss of name, reputation, money, resulting in devastation to us and our families and crashing all of our dreams," says the petition, a copy of which has been posted on the website of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA).
TANA president Jayaram Komati said he has been talking to and has also met local Congress representatives from California and urged them to help ensure that the affected students are given a chance to enrol in other institutes of higher learning within the US.
The organisation has also asked a law firm to approach Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to help save the affected students from potential deportation and/or detention and argue that they were victims and that they be given the opportunity to enrol elsewhere.
Meanwhile, a group of 35 students from Tri-Valley University (TVU), claiming they have not violated any law, met Indian Consul General Sushmita Gongulee Thomas in San Francisco on Thursday and the government help to complete their studies.
Thomas said she had sought factual position from the US government on the status of these students and how these students can be helped in transfer to other colleges so that they can complete their studies.
According to a federal complaint filed in a California court last week, the "sham university" admitted students to various residential and on-line courses.
On paper the students lived in California, but in reality they "illegally" worked in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.