The continuing uncertainty around Brexit is a challenging time for us all. The delay in the parliamentary vote on the Exit agreement with the EU is the latest event to hit the headlines. Discussions continue but it is difficult to predict what the future holds. I appreciate how unsettling this is to us all and especially to our international colleagues and their families.
The Government have recognised the challenges for Universities to continue to operate in this time of uncertainty and have over the last two years provided some assurances specifically on research income, student financing, the Erasmus scheme and rights to permanent residency for those members of staff who are nationals of other EU states. We do not yet know what will happen beyond these assurances which are time limited.
The debate continues to rage amongst those who see Brexit as an opportunity and those who are concerned about the impact on our future ability to work within and effectively with the EU - our major trading partners and closest neighbours.
Over the period since the 2016 referendum result, as a University we have sought to provide support and advice to our community. This has included financial assistance and free advice sessions for our international colleagues.
We have also established with Bristol University, UWE and others an office in Brussels to maintain our connections to the EU and understand how best to promote the activities of our University.
All of us on the University Executive Board continue to closely monitor events and where the implications of change become more certain we know we will dedicate resource to planning for these. The more dramatic the change the more resource we will need to devote to this activity and the faster we will need to move.
We are working with UUK , the CBI and others to ensure we are as fully informed as possible and to ensure policy makers are in no doubt about the issues that need to be tackled. All of this sadly does not take away the uncertainty. It also does not take away the concerns that many of our community understandably feel.
Working at this University is a rich experience for many reasons but experiencing the wide range of nationalities and cultures within our community is high on my list of benefits of my job. Learning about different cultures, listening to ideas from different countries or simply being taught how to order my coffee in Italian or Spanish is such as joy.
So to my colleagues from around the world, if you are worried about your future in the UK, you should know that whatever happens with Brexit, at the University of Bath you will always be welcome and appreciated, not just because that is the decent human thing to do but because of what you individually bring to us all.
I will continue my Brexit blogs updating you as the situation becomes clearer and to inform you of any further actions we as a University Executive Board are taking.
I would also appreciate any member of staff making me aware of any specific issues that need to be addressed. If you have specific personal issues I will help you access whatever support we can provide.