Leeds University issues '11th hour' Brexit advice to staff and students

A joint statement from the University of Leeds and Leeds University Union (LUU) was sent to all staff and students on Wednesday March 27 offering advice on Brexit.

Ahead of the UK's initial scheduled departure date from the European Union on Friday, now extended to April 12 should MPs back Theresa May's deal, the specifics of Brexit are still being debated in the House of Commons.

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The statement, from Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlards, LUU Union Affairs Officer Chris Morris and LUU Edcuation Officer Serene Esuruoso, seeks to reassure staff and students that they have plans in place to 'mitigate the impact of Brexit'.

Leeds University issues '11th hour' Brexit advice to staff and students

It begins: "The University of Leeds is an inclusive, tolerant, truly international community.

"Our students and staff are drawn from more than 150 countries across the world, and it is core to our values and identity that everyone, whatever their background, has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and is treated equally, with fairness, dignity and respect."

It goes on to state its three top priorities for Brexit are the immigration status of staff and students, access to funding and finance for EU students, and mitigating the impact of Brexit on funding for science, research and PhD studentships.

The statement continues: "We will continue to lobby with our sector peers for a positive resolution to all these issues."

It also expressed the university's understanding that many staff and students continue to live in limbo as Brexit plays out and are experiencing anxiety due to this, and reiterated the support systems available to them on campus.

It said: "Given that even at this 11th hour, the position still remains unclear, staff and students should be reassured that the University has done a great deal of planning to mitigate the impact of Brexit, including ensuring appropriate support for those travelling, studying or working abroad, and ensuring our supply chain is as protected as possible from any unexpected shocks.

"The university will continue to focus on its core purpose of creating knowledge and opportunity, delivered in part through collaboration beyond national borders.

"That is underlined by two developments in recent days – our decision, if required, to underwrite the Erasmus+ grant for all eligible students undertaking an Erasmus+ placement in Europe in 2019/20 and agreement on a memorandum of understanding with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, which will open up new opportunities for partnership."

Erasmus+ is an EU programme for education, training, youth and sport which runs from 2014 to 2020 and invited organisations to apply for funding for activities.

It enables young people to study, volunteer and gain work experience abroad, staff to teach or train abroad and UK organisations to collaborate with international partners.

Approximately 1 billion euros is reserved for Erasmus+ projects led my UK-based organisations.