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University response to Brexit questioned

Following the results of the EU referendum, the University of Kent has been questioned about how it approached the possibility of a Brexit result in the lead up to the referendum, and how it has responded since.

In the week following the leave result, the University contacted current students, staff and applicants to assure all that the University are talking to the relevant people about what ‘leave’ means for Kent. InQuire asked the University who they had been in contact with and what specifically the University were asking about.

A spokesperson said: “Since the announcement of the referendum result, the University continues to work closely with a number of organisations, including Universities UK, to ensure the best possible arrangements are in place to support our European and international staff and students, and to enable us to continue to provide a first class experience for all our students and produce world-class research.

“The Vice-Chancellor has met with staff at Canterbury and Medway and messages from the Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Council, outlining the University’s position, were also sent to students and staff.

“Guidance for applicants, students and staff have been posted on our website and will be updated when further information is available.”

InQuire also spoke with the University about the following: “It is apparent that Kent did not make a plan for Brexit despite the announcement of the referendum quite some time ago, aggressive campaigning from both sides, and the opinion polls coming closer and closer. Was it irresponsible of the University to have no position beyond “Kent is and will remain the UK’s European University”?”
Prior to the decision to leave the European Union, InQuire had asked what the University planned to do should the UK vote to leave the EU. This was particularly in regard to the various European centres Kent boasts of. The response received was that, “Kent is and will remain the UK’s European University.”
The responsibility of the University to EU citizens at Kent was also addressed. “Kent has a high number of EU students and staff, how would you respond to beliefs that the University failed these students and staff who contribute significantly to the University by not making a more robust exploration into what a leave result might mean for them prior to the result coming out?”
The University declined to respond to these questions.
At present, EU students are not facing a change to immigration or fee status, and still have access to student loans throughout their degree. This will change for EU students starting their courses after the UK has fully separated from the EU. Furthermore, Erasmus students will be eligible for the Erasmus grant while the UK remains a part of the EU.

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