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Home>About the University>University of Sanctuary>Supporting those affected by global crises

Sadly, members of our international community are sometimes impacted by conflict and humanitarian disasters. Find out how we support our staff and students, as well as how members of our community can help.

Our university was founded with a strong sense of social purpose: to deliver teaching and research to ‘ameliorate human life and conditions’ – to make things better. We're proud of the way our community has rallied together in the face of challenges.

Recent global events have prompted us to think about how we can offer more direct support to people whose lives have been disrupted by war, conflict or other humanitarian crises. We have explained here the support we can offer to students and staff affected by these situations.

Donate to our Sanctuary Fund

Our support

We are a University of Sanctuary for asylum seekers and refugees, and York is a City of Sanctuary. Both the University and city agencies are ready to support those whose lives have been disrupted.


We recognise that crisis and conflict can affect students in many different ways, and that a range of support is needed. Firstly it’s important that staff know if you are affected, so that they can offer you support and make reasonable adjustments if needed. Please speak to your supervisor and college team. 

Our Student Support and Advice Team can also provide help and support including:  

  • Support for your mental health, anxiety and wellbeing
  • Financial guidance and support
  • Advice on what to do if you are struggling academically
  • Help connecting with other students for support and friendship

You can find information and contacts on our Student Support pages.

In addition, we offer 

If your studies are affected, please look at our information about academic progress issues, and make sure you talk to your academic supervisor or course leader.

Staff supporting students

If you have a student impacted by conflict or crisis, please make yourself aware of the help available to them whether it relates to academic progress issues, or to a need for emotional or financial support. The most important thing that you can do is identify students who may be affected and to approach them proactively to check whether they need support.


Firstly, it's important that your line manager knows if you are affected by a crisis situation, so that they can offer you support and make reasonable adjustments if needed: please speak to them in the first instance. 

Managers supporting staff

If you have a role that involves managing or supporting staff, check in with any staff members who may be affected by a crisis and ensure that they know what support is available to them.

How everyone can help

As a supportive community, we know that many of our staff and students want to support those affected by conflict or humanitarian crises. There are a number of ways that you can help:

Fawzia's story

Find out more about how Fawzia is building a new life, with our support, after she was forced to leave Afghanistan.

Read the BBC article

Our principles

We are opposed to all forms of oppression, injustice and inequality however and wherever they occur.

Teaching and research related to addressing these issues takes place in several areas of the University including:

Across the University, research colleagues are encouraged to work across departments and disciplines to meet the challenges of our time.

In practice

  • We have supported Afghan students to join us with urgent scholarship funding, fee waivers, individual welcome packages and accommodation support. One of them, Nazia, studying LLM International Human Rights Law, tells her story on our Equal Access Fund page.
  • In response to the invasion of Ukraine, we offered welfare support to both Ukrainian and Russian students and staff impacted by the developments, as well as providing financial support where necessary.
  • We are supporting students and staff affected by events in Israel, Gaza and the Middle East, and reminding all members of our community to treat each other with compassion and respect.