Brexit – a message from the Vice-Chancellor and Leeds University Union

On 31 December 2020, the UK’s transition period for leaving the European Union will end.

There is continued uncertainty about what will happen next, and in this context we thought it was important to write to you about what Brexit means for our community. 

In short: whatever your views of Brexit and whatever the outcome of the negotiations, our message today is that it does not change our core values as a global, inclusive and tolerant university. 

The University of Leeds is a truly international community – our staff and students are drawn from more than 150 countries around the world, while there are more than 270,000 of our alumni living around the globe. 

Our diversity is a strength and underpins our culture. 

So we will continue to welcome people from Europe and around the globe to study, work, teach and carry out research at Leeds. We will continue to work with our international partners to push the boundaries of discovery, to conduct essential research into the issues facing our world and to train the next generation of global citizens. 

Our commitment to having a truly global impact through collaboration remains undiminished.

Over the past year, senior leaders from across the University have been working through the implications of Brexit for our staff and students. We have worked to improve the intercultural awareness of staff, made efforts to ensure we continue to offer a high-quality experience for international students after Brexit, and striven to maintain equal access to opportunities. We have also been in close contact with mission groups such as the Russell Group and Universities UK to ensure our concerns are raised with policymakers in the UK Government. 

We want to reassure you that we believe the University is in a good position to adapt to the UK’s new relationship with the EU from 1 January 2021. However, we would urge our EU staff and students to make sure they have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, if they haven’t already done so.

There are dedicated webpages about Brexit on For Staff and on our website for students, which we encourage you to read.

The University’s motto is “Et augebitur scientia” – ‘And knowledge will be increased’, which we translate today as ‘creating knowledge and opportunity’. That has been our central mission since our inception and it will continue to be so into 2021 and beyond.

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds
Izzy Walter, Union Affairs Officer, Leeds University Union
Franks Feng, International Officer, Leeds University Union
Carolina Hall-Rodriguez, Education Officer, Leeds University Union