By now you will have seen that the UK has voted to leave the EU, a decision that will have unforeseeable consequences on the futures of all members of the University of Bristol community.
You should have received the Vice-Chancellor’s statement in an email on Friday that promised no change in fees for current or incoming EU students in the year 2016/17. However, the picture is less clear for future incoming EU students and home students studying abroad, and for all current students’ fees from 2017/18 onwards.
Although no explicit mention was made of Bristol SU being embedded in the conversation, we want to assure you that we will be heard. As your elected officers, we celebrate the University’s diverse and international student population. We stand against the xenophobic, racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric that dominated media coverage of the EU Referendum. Every student at this University is automatically a member of Bristol Students’ Union, regardless of nationality, fee status or racialised identity and each member’s wellbeing is of equal importance to us.
It would be incorrect to suggest that all students fought for a remain vote. However, we acknowledge the predominant response amongst students is one of fear, anger and insecurity over their futures. Home students may now have lost a future path they had planned, EU students may now face fee rises, and students in complex migrant situations may now face deportation. We must mobilise as an international community to fight against any changes that further restrict access to education. Barriers to education will affect us all.
At Bristol SU, we were mandated by our Student Council to campaign for a Remain vote, a policy that does not end with Friday's result. 1 in 10 Bristol residents are a University of Bristol or University of the West of England (Bristol) student, with a further several thousand students in Further Education. We believe a collaborative effort with both educational and political bodies across the city is needed to ensure that students are represented at every table.
If you are worried, stressed, or want to speak to someone, then please get in touch with our dedicated Advice team JustAsk. You may also find it useful to contact the International Office and the Fees and Funding Office.
If you are in Bristol, you are welcome to join us in the Stand Together Bristol demo tomorrow that will march as a statement of inclusivity to all Bristol residents. Demos are also taking place in Exeter, Manchester and London. You can check out the National Union of Students response here.
Your full-time Officer team
Hannah, Jamie, John, Laura, Stephen and Zoe