Sheffield’s city and academic leaders have reaffirmed their welcome to international students in a joint statement released following the ‘Brexit’ referendum result.
There have been reports of increases in hate crime in some parts of the country since Britain voted to leave the EU, raising fears of a growing intolerance towards foreign nationals.
But Sheffield’s universities, college, MPs and civic leaders have united to send out a strong message that Sheffield is a global city which warmly welcomes students from all over the world.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, presented the pledge to Students’ Union leaders from the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield College.
He said: “Sheffield is a great city for many reasons but we are justly proud of the number of international students who choose to study at our universities and colleges. When I was a student many years ago we had international students on our course and they have remained friends all my life.
“They obviously contribute massively to our economy but, equally importantly, they enrich our lives. We wish to be an international and cosmopolitan city and our international students are massively important in that journey. They are more than welcome.”
The statement, which highlights how international students act as ambassadors for the city, has been signed by Mr Wright on behalf of the chamber, as well as senior figures at the city’s universities, college, city council and NHS foundation trust, Sheffield’s six MPs, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire and South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Dom Trendall, president of the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union, said: “Here at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students’ Union, we value and recognise the contribution of our international students to the community. We believe that it is this diversity that makes University an exciting place to go. Both the University and the Students’ Union are committed to welcoming students from all around the world because we believe that ‘we are international’.”
Emily Wilkes, president of Sheffield Hallam University’s Students’ Union, said: “We at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union have always and will continue to support its international students. We are proud that they come to our institution to gain an education, and we appreciate their contribution to our diverse city.”
And James Bangert, president of Sheffield College Students’ Union, added: “Our Students’ Union is proud to support its international students. These students come to Sheffield to gain an education but whilst here they provide investment and culture and diversity to our city. They make our city a better and more tolerant place to live.”