It is now seven months since the University and Leeds University Union sent a joint message to staff and students in expectation of an imminent departure from the EU.
While during that time there has been a lot of political activity, it has now been confirmed that EU leaders have agreed in principle to extend Brexit until 31 January 2020.
Despite the external noise, the University perspective remains consistent.
We remain committed to the values of inclusivity, tolerance and diversity, and to being a truly international University.
We remain committed to ensuring that our students and staff, drawn from more than 150 countries across the world, have the opportunity to be the very best they can be, and that everyone is treated equally, with fairness, dignity and respect.
And we remain committed to lobbying with our sector peers to ensure that, whatever the ultimate outcome of Brexit, any new arrangements provide a favourable and supportive environment for students and staff, particularly in relation to immigration rights, access to funding and finance for research and education, and mobility.
It is notable that much of the new Withdrawal Agreement agreed by the Government with the EU, but at the time of writing yet to be agreed by Parliament, remains unchanged from the earlier version. If passed, it will mean:
- EU citizens’ rights are guaranteed under the settlement scheme for those arriving until the end of the transition period.
- Full participation in the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus research and student mobility schemes to the end of 2020.
- The door is open for association to Horizon Europe and Erasmus post-2021.
But whatever your views on the merits or otherwise of Brexit, it is deeply unsatisfactory that very many of our colleagues and friends - particularly those from EU countries - continue to live with significant uncertainty.
We will continue to do everything we can to support them, including providing ongoing practical advice on issues ranging from immigration to funding and finance, to research support and collaboration.
Given the continuing high degree of uncertainty, the University continues to do a huge amount of planning and preparation, including for a ‘no deal’ scenario.
This includes working to ensure appropriate support for those travelling, studying or working abroad, and ensuring our supply chain is as protected as possible from any unexpected developments. Professor Hai-Sui Yu, our Deputy Vice-Chancellor: International, and Jane Madeley, our Chief Financial Officer, have been leading this work and explain what it has entailed so far in a recent Inside Track feature.
Leeds University Union (LUU) continues to listen to our students’ concerns and represent their voice to University leaders and local politicians. During this period of uncertainty LUU is directing its Help and Support team to set additional capacity aside to respond to any students who are anxious or require practical help. We would particularly encourage any students who are studying abroad, or considering this during their time at Leeds, to contact us with any concerns they may have at this time.
At its heart the University is a community of friends and colleagues joined in the pursuit of knowledge and opportunity. Our international perspective infuses and enriches that shared endeavour. Whatever happens in the coming days, weeks, months and years, we remain steadfastly committed to ensuring that perspective endures and thrives.
Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor
Lauren Huxley, LUU Union Affairs Officer
Abiha Kahn, LUU Education Officer
Any students seeking support or advice can use the LUU website or contact email@example.com to talk confidentially.
For further information on Erasmus+, please contact the Study Abroad Office at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0113 343 7900.
Further information is also available