Vice-Chancellor’s response to referendum result

The University of Kent is proud to be outward facing and international. We are especially proud of our diverse student body and our European and international staff. We recognise that we benefit greatly from this diversity.

I am naturally disappointed at the result of the EU referendum. It reflects neither my personal views nor those of the University. I recognise, nonetheless, the democratic process that has led to this outcome.

I want to reassure all staff and students that we are committed to supporting them through the uncertain period as the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union.

There are at this stage many unknowns. I will be setting up a working group to look in detail at the issues for the University. In the meantime, any non-UK European staff members with particular concerns should contact Human Resources Department ( Non-UK European students should contact the Dean for Internationalisation in the first instance (

The University of Kent continues to be one of the nation’s leading universities, offering both an outstanding student experience and world-leading research. We also continue to be proud to remain the United Kingdom’s European university.

Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor

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It is time for Britain’s European University to go global

Vote Leave UKC on why students must build a Brexit momentum and set our sights onto international horizons

We believe the future of the United Kingdom will be brighter, freer, and more prosperous outside of the European Union. For this generation especially, the time has come to reclaim the freedoms that were fought for by those before us.

The rights of the people to decide when to be taxed, what laws to pass, to whom we entrust with national responsibility have all been eroded by our membership of the EU. No longer can we alone decide with whom we trade, and what legislation regulates our lives: these powers have been seized by the distant, unelected, and unaccountable Brussels elite who relish in corporatism, tax exemption, and endless expense claims. We say trust in the electorate, trust in the British people to be in control of our fate.

The University of Kent especially knows the immeasurable benefits immigration and international students bring to our institutions, our economy, and our society as a whole. Yet why do we insist upon the passport discrimination, and the protectionism that is mandated to us through the EU?

It is a crying shame that in the most important political debate of our time the University has chosen to conflate being European with being a member of the European Union, neglecting the relevance of the twenty-two other proud nation states absent from this political marriage.

We’d see upon exit a fairer immigration system where no longer is it the country of your birth that determines your ability to live, work and study in this country with ease, but the merits of the individual, and all the skills and potential they bring to strengthen our nation. Never before have we been so interconnected with the rest of the globe; never has trade been easier, communication moe efficient, progress so forthcoming.

EU laws mean we have to charge non-EU students much more, which deters them from investing in our institutions. We formed this campaign as students not as a means of rejecting our institution’s internationalist ambitions, but in strengthening them; to amplify this university’s voice in world academia, not to diminish it. But in the EU we must shut ourselves off from the rest of the world, erect tariff walls, and think of Europe before all else, no matter the consequences. Voting to leave is the only truly global, internationalist step we can take – and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Forget the scaremongering, don’t let the Remain side put Britain down.

We are the world’s 5th largest economy, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and a founding member of NATO; a nation sitting at the top tables of the G7, G20, and OECD; our commerce and services desired in every continent, our schools and universities admired, with students flocking every year to our shores not because we are in the EU, but because Britain leads the world in so many ways.

Case in point, there are no EU member states in the World University Rankings top 25, but there are 6 UK institutions.

Britain stands tall on the merits of our own capabilities, proud of our ability to be world leader. Far more likely than the Remain side’s scaremongering on how we lose our stance in the world, we’d gain more momentum, re-emerging from the Brussels quagmire ready to compete with the giants of America, China, Japan, Korea, and India.

Let’s regain our sovereignty, our control over our laws and our destiny as a nation. Let’s vote to come back to the international community, trading with Europe and the rest of the world, but with the British people deciding for themselves the rules and the representatives who pass them.

It is our generation that will suffer from the stagnation and the ineptitude of the European Union; so it is our generation who must seize this chance and live up to the promise of Great Britain, the traditions that have guided us from Magna Carta onwards. Vote Leave UKC fights for this bright future; we implore you to register to vote, turn up on the day, and make the right decision.

Consider what Britain would look like the day after we vote to leave. Do you honestly buy into Project Fear’s claim of lasting recession, the cessation of international business dealing in London, the demise of British influence in the world, the exportation of millions of migrants? Are you seriously willing to buy into their pessimism, without really considering the idea that Britain has always been, in Europe or not, a strong, globally trading, prosperous, and generous nation or world standing.

Little England is a fallacy, Little Europe is the reality; it’s time to Vote Leave.

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Why copyright is important to education, research and the UK’s place in Europe

Of all the topics related to the EU referendum and (most notably immigration and the wider economy) the issue of copyright law reform might seem a relatively low priority. However copyright is hugely important to the way teaching and research is carried out in a digital environment and the current legal system creates barriers to good practice.

This is because despite reforms in 2001 Europe still has a patchwork of copyright laws in which each country is able to create its own local legislation covering activities allowed for teaching and research. These activities range from the everyday, like demonstrating or sharing learning materials, to the use of cutting edge technology like text and data mining.

The European Commission are planning on making changes to the law which may further harmonise teaching and research ‘exceptions’ (things you can do with copyright content without the rights holder’s permission), which could have a major impact on way universities operate across Europe.

As David Radlett says it is unclear exactly what the impact of leaving the EU would be on UK laws, although the general impact of a British exit from Europe on intellectual property laws may be more problematic than it is helpful. However the current process of copyright harmonisation between the UK and the rest of Europe would certainly not continue in its current form. In the event of an exit the question would be what types of trade deals the UK would be able to negotiate and the effect that these would have on our copyright laws. The likelihood is that NGOs and other bodies who advocate on behalf of education and research would be excluded from these agreements in favour of commercial organisations.

From the educator’s perspective, greater harmonisation of European laws is essential to provide clarity on what teachers and researchers are able to do, particularly for institutions with students in different European countries.

Copyright for Creativity (of which UUK is a signatory) provides a good overview of the importance of copyright reform for the education, research and library community. Similarly the University of Kent is a signatory to LACA’s (Library and Archives Copyright Alliance) London Manifesto which calls for fair copyright reform relating to libraries and archives in Europe.

In summary then, copyright reform in Europe is an important step towards simplifying access to knowledge and innovation. However in the event of a British exit the UK is unlikely to have the same level of influence over its outcome and there is a risk that this will prolong the current, confusing and frustrating copyright system which will hamper cross-border research and teaching initiatives.

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The University of Kent and the Referendum

Statement by Chair of Council


The University of Kent is the United Kingdom’s European university. Roughly 14% of new students, 18% of postgraduate students and 22% of our academic staff come from continental Europe. About 20% of Kent’s research income is won from European Union funds. We have academic centres in four European capitals. Our geographical situation and partnerships with other European universities serve to reinforce our European identity.

In its discussions of the forthcoming EU referendum, The University Council, the governing body of the University, has endorsed the view of Universities UK that continued membership of the EU is in the interests of the UK’s higher educational sector.   Given that a decision to leave the European Union would damage the educational objectives of the University of Kent, as the Council noted in our last meeting, our view is that the University, as a corporate entity, should support the Remain side of the argument in the referendum.

The Council is, however, also strongly committed to free speech and open debate. It recognises that there is a wide spectrum of opinion on the UK’s membership of the European Union and it believes that the university should provide opportunities for all views to be expressed and discussed.

The Council hopes that all members of the University who are eligible to vote – staff, students and alumni – will exercise that right on June 23rd, whatever their individual view.

Sir David Warren, Chair of Council

May 16th 2016

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Security, Stability and Influence

Former Ambassador to Norway and policy advisor to the vice-chancellor, David Powell, shares his views on why leaving the European Union would be a serious strategic and security error.

The most important issues for me, as a former diplomat, are around security, stability and influence.

Our precise security challenges are of course always changing in the detail. But given our geography and history, there are some broader imperatives that have been followed by successive British Governments:

  • Ensure that we can influence the international landscape, in terms both of direct security challenges and also the international rules or norms that will affect our country. We rely on a rules-based international system, so having a voice in setting those rules is vitally important.
  • Seek to preserve stability in our neighbourhood. This is why we have supported interlocking networks and norms to reduce or contain the risks of conflict in Europe – and which is why we were instrumental both in setting up NATO and in giving the EU a defence dimension.
  • Prevent a single nation or group of nations forming a power block on continental Europe. The EU is far and away the most powerful and influential grouping in our region. Leaving it won’t make it go away.

All these objectives would be weakened if we were to leave the EU.

We would no longer have a leading role in crafting European Union foreign policy and in the broader European response to international crises – my experience in Oslo showed me the difficulties the Norwegians sometimes had in making their voice heard on European foreign policy issues. We would no longer be able to play a pivotal role in ensuring NATO and the EU work together as effectively as possible. Indeed, with all our NATO allies wanting us to remain in the EU it is inconceivable that our voice even in NATO would be as strong after Brexit. Senior military commanders have warned about weakening NATO. We have responsibilities to our allies as well as to ourselves.

Leaving the EU would substantially weaken our ability to influence the preservation of stability and security in our neighbourhood. This to me is a vital national interest. There is a good deal of history on this continent. One of the huge achievements of the European Union has been to provide a framework within which disputes can be more easily managed (not least in Northern Ireland). Issues that might previously have become inflamed can be handled in boring committee rooms in Brussels. But as the immigration crisis has shown, cooperation is fragile. National differences are still very much alive.

Removal of the UK voice will both place a further strain on European institutions and at the same time reduce our own influence on events. We would convert a powerful group of nations from a (broadly) friendly club of which we are a member, into a bloc capable of acting collectively against our interests should they choose to do so.

There is a further consideration, which is that just as no man is an island, so too is no one nation or group of nations. Maintenance of international peace and security requires concerted coordination. The EU is increasingly a key actor. Its implementation of policies may not always be as effective as it ought to be but its objectives are largely those to which we subscribe:  the norms of human rights and the rule of law. A weakened EU would reduce the salience of European values on the world stage.

As a Permanent Member of the Security Council, the United Kingdom has a primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The world is facing a greater set of risks than it has faced for some time. I find it difficult to understand how Brexit will make responding to any of them any easier or will make the world a safer place.

There is, finally, the more positive vision for the UK’s continued membership of the European Union. In working together EU member states have sought to emphasise a culture of cooperation and consensus as against one of confrontation and competition. This seems to be a not unreasonable approach to international relations. We are seeing tentative steps in similar directions in many other regions of the world.  And although Europe’s share of global wealth is set to decline, as the rest of the world grows more numerous and richer, the member states of the European Union collectively still command formidable resources and wield enormous influence. The UK has long sought to influence global rules, norms and frameworks. We need to ask ourselves whether we will be better able to do so on our own or as part of this larger community of nations.



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Kent Students for Europe

On the 23rd of June, the United Kingdom will have the choice on whether to stay in or leave the European Union. We, a group of students from the University of Kent, have decided to unite in order to support a continued British membership in the European Union.

We created a student branch of the national “Britain Stronger in Europe” campaign at the University of Kent called “Kent Students for Europe”. We are officially launching the campaign on the 3rd of March in Darwin Lecture Theatre 2 at 6pm and hope that many students and staff will be able to attend this event.


We believe that Britain’s future is stronger, safer and brighter in the EU.

Stronger because Britain’s economy, trade and leadership in the world will be stronger inside the EU. Being in the EU helps Britain attract millions of pounds of investment every day which helps create more jobs and more opportunities for UK families. This also means lower prices on consumer goods and services for these families.

Safer because being part of larger community helps to fight crime and terrorism and to address global issues such as a safer and cleaner environment. We believe that such issues can only be resolved by working on a united front with our partner nations in Europe.

Brighter because we know the continued opportunities available that a Britain remaining in the EU would enjoy such as healthcare, the protection of our fundamental rights and freedoms but also more specific rights such as workers and women’s rights.


This is the campaign of our generation because we are generation Easy Jet, we are generation Erasmus, a generation that has never been confronted directly to the horrors of war and that witnesses a unified and secured European continent.

We are the ones who enjoy the most the freedom to travel, work and study anywhere in the EU. Thanks to the grants that the EU provides to support research and innovation, we have the best possible education and career opportunities. We can see just how the EU is present in our lives by looking at all the students coming from the EU to study at Kent, the UK’s European university. EU students and staff help us foster an international and more opened culture, prepared to meet up with the challenges that shape our globalised world.


– Kent Students for Europe Campaign Team


To get updates on upcoming events, find us on Facebook:

And on Twitter: @Kent4EU

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