Recent history has taught us that it is unwise for anyone to predict what will happen next in the continuing uncertainty surrounding the politics and the preparedness of the nation for Brexit in any of its mooted forms.
What is certain is that this week promises to be a tumultuous period in Westminster and Brussels with a series of Parliamentary debates and votes across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, after which we may – or indeed may not – know where the country stands in terms of deal, no deal or delay.
What is imperative is that as a community we remain devoted to global scholarship and diversity and continue to support, celebrate and nurture our staff, students and alumni from more than 190 countries worldwide.
We continue to prepare for any eventuality. Contingency planning for a ‘No Deal’ scenario continues, confirming our supply chains, avoiding travel disruption and mitigating contractual issues. Brexit Contacts are now in place to support their academic and professional service areas during such a period. We have recently confirmed that the University will continue to underwrite outgoing student mobility programmes to the EU and Erasmus+ partners for the next three years to 2021/22.
Staff in Human Resources are committed to supporting EU colleagues in their applications to the EU Settlement Scheme and have now opened a dedicated help desk for staff seeking HR advice relating to Brexit. You can email enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University continues to lobby government through Universities UK, the Russell Group and our local MPs to protect the interests of EU staff and students, support access to research programmes and protect student mobility schemes.
We will commence our own campaign this week, #WeAreUoN, to highlight and celebrate the extensive contributions made by our EU colleagues to every aspect of life in our community. I hope as many staff and students as possible will join this online celebration. I also look forward to celebrating our EU staff and discussing the future of our engagements with Europe at the EU Staff Event on 19 March. A few places remain available, so please sign up if you are able to attend.
Whatever happens this week, we are and will remain a University that welcomes staff and students from every corner of the globe. I ask that we continue to support each other and thank you for your continued commitment to our University as a global institution and a collegiate community.
Professor Shearer West
11 March 2019