University of St Andrews Principal Sally Mapstone has written to staff and students following the Prime Minister’s delivery of a formal letter to EU President Donald Tusk announcing Britain’s intentions to exit the European Union.
The six-page letter was delivered to Brussels earlier this afternoon after being signed by Theresa May. The UK now has two years to renegotiate its partnership with the bloc, and the rest of the world, before its actual separation from the union.
In her email message, Professor Mapstone said, “Mrs May’s letter to Donald Tusk is only the start of a long negotiation during which fundamental questions about our ongoing relationship with the EU will be considered, from the rights of our EU members of staff and our students to our access to the EU research community.
As a Scottish university St Andrews is also materially affected by the decision of the Scottish Government to call for a second independence referendum, endorsed yesterday in the Scottish Parliament.”
Professor Mapstone also welcomed the Deputy First Minister’s announcement last week that EU students commencing their studies in 2018 will continue to have their tuition fees paid for by the Scottish Government for the duration of their courses.
Last June, the Principal addressed an email to staff and students to “reassure” them on the morning following the result of the Brexit referendum.
In this more recent email, she acknowledged that many individuals may have “strong views” on Brexit, and encouraged all to attend the next Principal’s Open Forum, taking place on 4 May in Physics Lecture Theatre A at 1 pm.
Furthermore, Professor Mapstone announced that, “Our Human Resources department is arranging a series of drop-in sessions across the University for EEA colleagues who may wish to consider applying for UK residency or British citizenship.
I have also asked that we explore the opportunity to provide subsidised expert legal advice from Scottish solicitors’ firms with particular expertise in these matters.”
Going on she wished to make known that, “I have asked that we put in place arrangements to cover the cost of application for permanent residence or an EEA registration certificate.
“This will also apply retrospectively to any member of staff who has applied for residence since 23 June last year.”
Echoing her continued strong statements on the matter, Professor Mapstone affirmed, “St Andrews is, and will remain, a highly connected global university. We shall continue to welcome staff members and students from all countries of the world.
These are turbulent political times in Scotland and in the UK. But great universities will always survive turbulence and disruption.”