What will Brexit mean for UCL? – a forum for the UCL community
By ucyow3c, on 13 July 2016
Written by Tom Butler (UCL Philosophy)
In reaction to the political confusion that has occurred following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, a Q&A session was arranged to provide some clarity about what Brexit means for UCL’s staff and students.
UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, was joined by colleagues Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost (Research); Wendy Appleby, UCL Registrar and Nigel Waugh, Director of UCL Human Resources, each providing insight from their own professional backgrounds. Completing the panel was Simon Kenny, a lawyer working for firm Eversheds in their immigration practice. The discussion was chaired by Dame Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice-Provost (International).
The event was an opportunity for staff and students, particularly those from countries within the EU, to find answers to any queries they had regarding Brexit.
As the event progressed, it became clear that there were two types of questions being presented to the panel: firstly, individuals asked for advice about what they should do with regard to the EU referendum result; and secondly, staff and students asked what actions UCL was taking and planning to take.
Advice was given by all members of the panel, but the particular inclusion of Simon Kenny was invaluable in providing practical guidance on concerns relating to the Right to Remain.
Kenny described, in detail, what individuals who were looking to remain in the UK could do at this early stage. The immigration lawyer pointed towards the UK Visas and Immigration website where one can submit a form to confirm they are a ‘qualified person’ residing in the UK or a ‘permanent resident’. He also argued the completion of either would make it very difficult to revoke an individual’s Right to Remain.
Another notable piece of advice followed a question asking whether applications for EU funding for research projects are likely to be unsuccessful in the wake of Brexit. Professor David Price provided a quite certain response:
In answer to your question ‘is it still worth continuing to apply for funding from the EU?’ – absolutely yes. We have reassurance from Brussels that our applications are as welcome and as valid as ever.
The panel was also asked what UCL was doing in response to a variety of issues that have emerged because of Brexit. Questions focused on topics such as the possible increase in racism and xenophobia, how UCL is assisting its staff and students with Right to Remain concerns, and how UCL is informing potential and current EU students about their situations.
Nigel Waugh described several different schemes that are being implemented to combat a potential rise in racism and xenophobia. These included highlighting UCL’s existing Dignity at Work advisors, who provide informal support for staff experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace, a helpline and an anonymised web tool – a site being developed where staff will be able to report incidents in confidence.
With regard to Right to Remain concerns, UCL will be running clinics for 10 to 20 people at a time to work through any specific worries one may have about continuing to live and work in the UK.
Registrar Wendy Appleby outlined the various ways UCL was reaching out to current and prospective EU students, which centred on ensuring that they receive as much information as possible. A recently launched news feed for new students will feature the latest news relating to Brexit and there will be greater emphasis on talking directly to students, particularly about funding.
All advice and information given, however, was presented with the caveat that it is difficult to be definitive. Before we legally exit the EU, everything will stay much the same but it is difficult to predict what will happen when the time comes to leave. It was generally suggested that we will remain within the European Union for at least two years.
Nevertheless, what was certain was UCL’s commitment to its EU staff and students. Every answer was intended to reassure and demonstrate that the university will do all it can to support those working and studying who come from the EU.
I want to say to everybody who’s from the EU here,” Michael Arthur emphasised, “that you are a key and integral part of this university and you always will be.”
More detailed information and advice can be found on UCL’s dedicated EU referendum FAQ’s website.
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