The Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, has written an article voicing his concerns about how “academic excellence” is being threatened by the limitations being placed on “freedom of movement” around the world.
The Provost emphasises that “excellence and internationalism are inextricably linked” as “internationalism” allows the universities to draw on “global intellectual expertise.” The reality of this is shown in the fact that 36% of UCL staff come from outside of Britain.
The international diversity of UCL’s staff and students is likely to be affected by Brexit, with 13% of students and 20% of staff coming from EU countries other than the UK. The Provost makes it clear that it is of “critical importance” in the future that the UK continue to collaborate with the EU.
However, the Provost’s main demand of the government is that it guarantees “the right to remain for existing EU staff and students in universities.” He made this request officially on the 25th of January, at the House of Commons Education Select Committee.
In the article the Provost also criticises the rise of anti-globalisation in the US, stating that President Trump’s immigration “ban” goes “against everything that UCL stands for.” He expresses concern about the negative impact the “ban” could have on the “higher education”: “Th[e] limiting of free movement can only be a bad thing for the advancement of knowledge and global understanding.”
The financial impact of Brexit on UCL is not mentioned in the article. The possible reduction in the number of international students attending UCL, due to Brexit, could in fact have a larger financial impact on UCL than an academic one.
In the coming years, UCL is looking to expand its student population to over 40,000. This is in part to help pay back the £280 million loan UCL has taken out to help finance its expansion projects, such as UCL East.
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