LGBT Policy of Heriot-Watt Dubai and Malaysia

J. Dennis made this Freedom of Information request to Heriot-Watt University

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Heriot-Watt University.

Dear Heriot-Watt University,

I am wondering what actions the university has been taking to protect the rights of LGBT students in their campuses in Dubai and Malaysia? In addition, I would like to know what the university would do were a student or staff member to be convicted of homosexual activities? Would a student have to miss out on the opportunity to study at Heriot-Watt's campuses in these countries because of their LGBT status, or have the hide in the closet? Furthermore, has the university raised their concern about the treatment of LGBT citizens and activists in these countries with the respective governments of Dubai/Malaysia? Were LGBT rights taken into account when considering Dubai and Malaysia as locations for international campuses?

As a well-renowned university, I would hope that the university would use its influence and connections within these countries' governments to try to improve what is a terrifying lack of basic legal protections for LGBT people. In the UAE/Dubai, the punishment for homosexual activities are "Imprisoment, death, fines, chemical castrations, torture, beatings, floggings and deportation for foreigners", and in Malaysia the punishment is "20 years with or without fines and whippings. Muslim citizens may be charged in Islamic court".

Yours faithfully,

J. Dennis

Freedom Of Information,, Heriot-Watt University

1 Attachment

Dear applicant

 

Thank you for your information request which we acknowledge. As a Scottish
Public Authority, we will be processing your request through the Freedom
of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), the details of which can be
found at the link below.

 

We are currently experiencing a high volume of information requests, and
so we aim to respond within the statutory deadline, taking into account
any Scottish Bank Holidays.

 

Scottish Information Commissioner Guidelines.

 

Further information about timescales for responding to requests for
information and your rights under the Act can be found on the Scottish
Information Commissioner's website:

 

[1]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

 

or by contacting the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address:

 

Scottish Information Commissioner,

Kinburn Castle,

Doubledykes Road, St Andrews,

Fife KY16 9DS

Telephone: 01334 464610

Fax: 01334 464611

E-mail: [2][email address]

Website: [3]www.itspublicknowledge.info

 

Please visit the pages below to see if the information you require is in
the public domain.

 

[4]https://www.hw.ac.uk/

 

[5]https://www.hw.ac.uk/services/heritage-i...

 

Kind regards

 

 

 

FOISA Team

Heriot-Watt University

Governance and Legal Services

Edinburgh Campus

Riccarton

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

Telephone: 0131 451 3274

 

[6]E-mail Signature - HWU - YoftheSea - IYOTY

 

 

 

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Freedom Of Information,, Heriot-Watt University

Dear applicant

 

Thank you for the information request dated the 22nd August 2018 regarding
LGBT right at our overseas campuses.  Your request has been handled under
our own country’s legislation: the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002 (FOISA).  We should also like to take the opportunity to thank you
for expressing your views and concerns.

 

Our University is committed to equality of opportunity and in making
available our global education to a wide and diverse range of people from
across the world. One of our core values is [1]Respecting and Valuing
Everyone and this commitment extends to all our students, staff and the
wider community irrespective of location. We steadfastly believe that
education is a great agent of change and that a role of a university is to
share ideas, thoughts and values so that we contribute to people
developing a better understanding of different viewpoints and a positive
change in global society.

In common with the majority of UK institutions, we have students who take
part in exchange programmes around the world, in addition to studying on
our campuses in Dubai and Malaysia. We recognise that different places in
the world will have different laws, cultural norms and faith beliefs.  Any
student travelling to another country is advised to follow any advice from
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the country they are travelling
to, and to respect local laws and customs. The guidance which we provide
can be viewed [2]here.

 

We provide all Heriot-Watt Students and staff access to our "Safezone"
service.  This mobile app can trigger immediate support from our
Safeguarding team 24 hours a day, irrespective of the location or issue
the student is facing.

 

At the time when our Dubai Campus was founded in 2005, we did not have the
Value statement referred to above and so our holistic and all-inclusive
values would not have been taken into consideration. Conversely, our views
would have been in place when the Malaysia Campus was commissioned in
2013.  As already mentioned above, our value of ‘Respecting everyone’ is
now in place and all members of our University Community are expecting to
comply with these.

 

In your first paragraph you ask ‘what the university would do were a
student or staff member to be convicted of homosexual activities’? This
situation has not happened and so the information is exempt from release
under our Section 17: Information not held of FOISA. Students from any
campus are able to apply for [3]inter-campus transfers, and providing
their programme runs at another campus, are able to transfer without any
barrier.

 

Whilst the University is required to collect statistical data on protected
characteristics to meet the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA)
requirements, this is only required and collected for UK campus
students. We do not collect such data for students studying in Dubai or
Malaysia, and the protected characteristics data is held separately to
other student data, so cannot be accessed by staff in Dubai or Malaysia,
even if a student transfers to that campus.  

 

Your right to seek review of our decision

 

If you are not satisfied with our response or our reasoning set-out above,
you have forty working days from today in which to request a review of our
decision.  Any request should be put in writing and should be sent to Ann
Jones, Head of Heritage and Information Governance, at the address
detailed at the bottom of this email. The request should:

 

(a) detail your request for a review of our decision to be undertaken;

 

(b) describe the nature of your original request; and

 

(c) explain the reasons why you are dissatisfied with our response.

 

If you remain dissatisfied with how your request for information has been
dealt with, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information
Commissioner for a decision as to whether we have handled your request
properly.

 

Information relating to your right to seek review is available from the
Scottish Information Commissioner's web page at:

 

[4]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...
  

 

or by contacting the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address:

 

Scottish Information Commissioner,

Kinburn Castle,

Doubledykes Road,

St Andrews,

Fife KY16 9DS

Telephone: 01334 464610

Fax: 01334 464611

E-mail: [5][email address]  

Website:
[6]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/...
 

 

Contact us

 

Finally, should you wish to discuss the contents of this email, please do
not hesitate to contact me.

 

Kind regards

 

 

FOISA Team

Governance and Legal Services

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh Campus

Riccarton

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

 

 

 

 

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