The University of Reading should offer support to its EU staff
Attn: Sir David Bell KCB, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading
Dear Sir David
In light of the EU Referendum it is disappointing to see that your open letter (24/6/16) regarding EU nationals working at the University was couched in HR terminology, with nothing to indicate what support (if any), would be provided to EU staff. You offer support to UK nationals working in Europe; why not offer the same support to EU staff working in the UK? They are highly skilled individuals who have invested a great deal in the University; many are experts in their fields and contribute toward the multicultural nature of the campus. To treat them in such a fashion is, frankly, insulting. Without its EU lecturers, Reading would be a shadow of its former self – they are a vital part of the academic community and deserve respect.
More than anything else, they are people – many of them will have been shocked by the result, many may now have doubts about their careers going forward. Some may be considering emigrating, uprooting their families and leaving their friends as a result. There is more to them than just academic posts filled or grants accrued – they are part of the society of the University, and deserve to be treated as such. The upsurge in racist incidents after the Referendum has left many EU nationals feeling scared and unwelcome – we are aware of at least one senior lecturer at Reading who has been the victim of a racist attack.
We recognise that at this early stage the details of the UK exit from the EU are far from certain, and as such there is a limit to what the University can commit to. We do, however, implore you that you consider our concerns outlined above and issue a fresh public message, offering support and assurances to your EU staff.
Concerned students and alumni