Whether people are pleased with the result or not, the EU referendum that took place last week resulted in 52 per cent of the UK voting to leave the European Union. However among people aged 18-24 years old 75 per cent voted to remain in the EU. Therefore it is likely that the majority of the student population in the UK voted to remain. However now that the public have voted, and if Article 50 is triggered by most probably the next Prime Minister, what will this mean for students?
Koen Lamberts, University Vice Chancellor, has made contact via email with all University of York students outlining what the next steps are from the University’s perspective following the result of the referendum. From the University’s perspective he states: “Our community comprises many nationals from EU countries and your contribution to the University’s mission and the cultural life of our city is fundamental and highly valued.”
It has been announced by Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, that there will be no change to the status of current EU students and members of staff at universities, participation in Erasmus+ or in EU research funding arrangements.
However even though there has been reassurance from the University and government that students will be supported there is still an unease as to the uncertainty of what changes are to happen still, and the impact of them.
The Board at the University met to discuss what they plan to do to ensure stability for students and staff following the result of the referendum.
One of the things the University plans to do is to use the office that it has set up in Brussels with its White Rose partners (University of Leeds and University of Sheffield), to influence future policy debates and negotiations. The office has been criticised for using University money to lobby the EU rather than spending it on students. It has been defended by those involved in setting up the office as cost effective way to get up to date information on funding resources and stay connected to Europe.
The office is said to be able to be continually used by the White Rose University Consortium following the UK leaving the EU if the United Kingdom continues to be involved in EU-led research projects as a non-member as countries like Switzerland do at the moment.
Lamberts also intends to set up a website portal especially for EU staff and students to give them advice and information on questions they may have about the circumstances for them following Brexit.
The University has stated that it is committed to welcoming all prospective EU students and staff to be a part of the city and community of York.
A specific plan is yet to be decided however, and it is unlikely to be made clear until the UK government defines what the future is for the UK’s relationship with the EU. For the time being students, current and prospective, are left to wonder what the impact is for their future of studying and working in the UK.