In 2004, an error in her school records seriously jeopardized her immigration status by making it seem as if she had taken time away from school, which disqualified her from the foreign student program that allowed her to stay in the U.S.
This almost caused her to be deported.
WSU has agreed to issue her a corrected diploma, but only if she signs a waver saying she won’t take legal action or speak of her story publicly. Sethunya refuses to sign.
She holds that every student has the right to receive their diploma without having to undergo court proceedings. She also contends that the school has no right to silence her from speaking or taking action about the discrimination she believes she has faced, and the anguish the school has caused her.
In her ongoing struggle to have her record corrected, Sethunya has protested commencement ceremonies and sought help from the state congressional delegation. Only through such action was she permitted to re-enter school and pursue her master’s degree. Sethunya is from the war-torn country of Lesotho, where she fears her life would be endangered if she were sent back.
In Lesotho, her life was threatened by her former husband and she was not legally protected from his threats because spousal abuse was protected by the culture. A psychologist has found she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from her experiences there.
Correcting her diploma is one step in securing permanent status in the U.S. and ensuring her safety. Sethunya now holds a master’s in criminal justice, which she received in 2007.
However, due to her immigration status, she cannot yet work in her field, a problem that has plagued her since WSU mixed up her student records in 2004.