SUSU Launches Brexit Planning Survey

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Laura Barr, the Vice President Welfare and Communities at SUSU, has launched a survey in an attempt to improve SUSU’s representation of students in their central role on the University of Southampton’s No-Deal Brexit Taskforce. 

The nine-question anonymous survey asks participants to share opinions on Brexit, from their biggest concern about the United Kingdom’s looming withdrawal from the European Union, to what they would like the Students’ Union to do to alleviate these concerns.

In her introduction to the survey, Sabbatical Officer Laura Barr says,

I have been meeting with various people in the University to gain a better understanding of what the Universities [sic]plan is for a no-deal Brexit. I would like to lobby them to put provisions in place to mitigate damage for EU and International Students, and prospective ones too.

She goes on to say that due to SUSU’s seat on the University’s Brexit Taskforce, she would like to ‘protect the interests of our students and lobby for them under what SUSU can do‘.

At the end of August this year, SUSU expressed their concern particularly for EU students in Southampton enrolled on healthcare courses, whose degrees may lose their international recognition status after any no-deal Brexit.

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In February 2016, Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall visited the Hybrid Bio Devices Lab, where European students are most likely to be affected, at the University Of Southampton where she was also awarded an Honourary Doctorate. 

The SUSU survey comes two weeks after University of Southampton Chief Operating Officer Ian Dunn circulated an email to Southampton students and staff highlighting the ongoing work of the European Staff Support Network and SUSU in supporting students from Europe.

He also drew attention to the recent EU citizens & Brexit information session, the recording of which can be viewed here, and the University’s ‘strong recommendation‘ that students from the EU currently residing in the UK apply for Settled or Pre-Settled Status, a process that can be completed here before the deadline of 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. He suggested that any student of staff member with queries or comments about Brexit and the University of Southampton should contact europeanfutures@soton.ac.uk. Comprehensive and up-to-date Brexit advice can be found on the University’s website here.

The Students’ Union currently has a mandate to support a People’s Vote campaign, following a March 2019 all-student vote which, on a turnout of 17.9%, overwhelmingly backed a People’s Vote. The Southampton University Labour Society and Conservative Association subsequently penned a joint open letter criticising the ‘three-day election window [which]ensured that anyone concerned with the outcome of the vote could not campaign‘. A then-committee member of the University’s Liberal Democrat Society responded by saying, ‘I personally find it comical that both the Conservatives and Labour have failed to support SUSU in the results of a democratic election due to the turnout when their own parties rarely hold an outright majority of the population after general elections‘.

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