University responds to UK vote to leave EU

Vice Chancellor speaks out following EU referendum

Image: Theophilos Papadopoulos

Image: Theophilos Papadopoulos

Koen Lamberts, University Vice Chancellor, has spoken on the result of the EU referendum saying at this time “it is difficult to assess the impact of this decision on the University”.

His statement has said that the University will be working with Universities UK (UUK), the UK Research Office and the Russell Group to assess the implications of the result and how the University is planning to respond.

The UK decided to leave the EU in a referendum that was proposed in the Conservative manifesto 2015 with 51.9 per cent voting out and 48.1 per cent voting in. Turnout in the vote was 72.2 per cent, up from 66.1 per cent in the 2015 general election.

York itself voted to remain as 58 per cent chose to stay in the EU, and 42 per cent voted to leave. The results also showed that a difference between the younger and older generation in voting preferences was evident with 75 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds voting to remain, and only 40 per cent of over 65s voting to stay in the EU.

Following the result Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation that will take effect in October. A motion of no confidence has also been submitted by two Labour MPs against their party leader Jeremy Corbyn. In addition Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested a second independence referendum will take place in Scotland over the next two years.

Lamberts has said to York students: “I want to reassure you that we are a resilient institution with a global outlook, and that we will continue to deliver world-class teaching and research, collaborate internationally and run international student programmes.

“The University Executive Board will be meeting on Monday to begin laying the foundations of the University’s approach to the new landscape. We will ensure that all staff and students are kept informed as the implications of the Referendum result become clearer in the coming months.”

Other universities have already began to form their responses with University College London (UCL) being among one of the first universities to announce that they will not be changing tuition fees for EU students next year. Several educational bodies have had their say on the result.

Julia Goodfellow, UUK President, has stated “Our first priority will be to convince the UK Government to take steps to ensure staff and students from EU countries can continue to work and study at British universities and to promote the UK as a welcoming destination for the brightest and best minds.”

The European University Association (EUA) has announced that: “Regardless of the result, British universities are – and remain – an essential part of the European family of universities, which extends beyond EU borders.”
The statement continued: “EUA will continue to work with and for British universities. The Europe of universities will not be divided!”

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, has reacted to the EU referendum’s impact on the Universities in the Russell Group saying: “We will be working closely with the Government to secure the best deal for universities from the negotiations to come so that we can continue to form productive collaborations across Europe.”

More developments on how the University of York will respond to the referendum result to support students will be expected to come following the University Executive Board meeting on Monday.

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