London uni sent email ‘in error’ that appeared to reject applicant because they’re Russian

The uni said it was sent by mistake ‘due to an internal miscommunication’

An email sent by the University of West London (UWL) to an applicant appeared to reject them due to their Russian nationality.

The uni’s international team wrote to Russian applicant Elena Ledneva: “As per University policy in response to the recent events and situation in Ukraine, we will not be in the position to process your application further.”

Elena found what was said in the email “totally unreasonable” as she has “no influence on the people who decided to start this awful war” and is “not responsible for their actions.”

A UWL spokesperson said to The Tab: “An email declining an application was sent in error to a prospective student and due to an internal miscommunication.”

Having just moved to London with her husband and a newborn son a year ago, Elena applied to do a Masters in luxury hospitality management at UWL as she has previous experiences in the sector and has “always enjoyed working with people.” 

She was “shocked” to have received that email from UWL, saying: “I studied, worked for 33 years so that the actions of president of Russia can now destroy my future goals and career?”

And if she’d have gotten into the programme, she claims she’ll be funded by her husband, a UK PAYE employee, “with a clear track of the money origin” and “proof that they are not somehow related to the Russian Government.”

Her “rejection” also comes after a UWL statement issued shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine that acknowledged “those within Russia courageously opposing the conflict.” One of the uni’s “general principles” is also to “admit candidates who have the potential to succeed on their chosen course regardless of background”.

She told Express: “Unfortunately it is still a case in the UK that people are being discriminated because of their nationality. Now it’s about the Russians who live in the UK, who do not support Russian Government and are probably even more horrified with what’s going on than the rest of the civilised world.

“Believe me, it is heartbreaking to see what your native country is doing in Ukraine and not be able to change anything.”

But when responding to this article, UWL told The Tab that the email was sent mistakenly due to “an internal miscommunication.”

A spokesperson for the uni said: “Senior admissions staff have since reached out to this prospective student to convey our sincere apologies for any distress caused.

“UWL’s admissions policies and procedures remain unchanged and do not include any restrictions on university admissions based on nationality.

“UWL is proud of its diverse staff and student community, and we are committed to the quality of opportunity and social inclusion at all levels of the University.”

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