The University's statement on the EU Referendum
Professor Paul Boyle writes to all staff and students following the EU Referendum result.
The majority decision made for Britain to exit the EU has come as a huge disappointment to me and colleagues across the University sector. Leaving the EU will create significant challenges for universities and although this is not an outcome that we wished or campaigned for, we respect the decision of the UK electorate.
I wish to assure staff and students from the EU how much we value your commitment and contribution and we will set up a process for advice, discussion and consultation as soon as practicable. We should remember that leaving the EU will not happen overnight – there will be a gradual exit process with significant opportunities to seek assurances and influence future policy.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. And, we have yet to learn when Article 50 will be invoked.
Barring unilateral action from the UK Government, the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, nor to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff.
As the country and our universities enter a period of transition, my focus will remain on securing support that allows us to continue to be global in our outlook, internationally networked and an attractive destination for talented people from across Europe. This is central to ensuring that universities like Leicester continue to be the best in the world.
Our collective first priority, therefore, will be to convince the UK Government to take steps to ensure that staff and students from EU countries and beyond can continue to work and study at British universities and to promote the UK as a welcoming, open and tolerant destination for the brightest and best minds – a place where scholarship can flourish no matter where your origins. Colleagues make a powerful contribution to university research and teaching and have a positive impact on the British economy and society. We will also prioritise securing opportunities for our researchers and students to access vital pan-European programmes and build new global networks.
In due course, we will establish a process where you can seek more information, but in the mean time I wish to assure you of my support. We have created a group on Yammer which we can use to share key information and plans, and you can use to ask questions and get colleague's expert advice.
Professor Paul Boyle
President and Vice-Chancellor
This site will be updated as more information becomes available.