Students and staff have been left feeling “bruised and less welcome” after the Leave vote, says Dundee University’s principal.
Professor Sir Pete Downes said there had been an emotional impact from the Brexit decision, which leaves the futures of many of those working and studying at the university shrouded in uncertainty.
“Our job now, under difficult circumstances, is to leave and not to become rabbits in the headlights,” he told The Courier’s Brexit Briefing.
“It’s really important that we now as quickly as possible stabilise the position.
“We have made it very clear to staff and students that nothing changes, at least for the next two years and the change after that is likely to be quite gradual.
“But, of course, most staff and students are actually emotionally affected by this decision and undoubtedly feel both bruised and less welcome in the UK than they did just a few weeks ago.”
He said places for EU students for 2016-17 are “now guaranteed” after talks with the Government and they are trying to get the same arrangements in place for 2017-18.
Sir Pete said he is seeking clarity on the resident status of EU staff, which he said has “not been achieved yet but we hope to do it quite quickly”.
Nicola Sturgeon has demanded that Theresa May guarantees the rights of EU citizens living here, which the Prime Minister-in-waiting has refused to do ahead of the Brexit negotiations.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at the weekend it is a “shameful stain” on Mrs May’s reputation to “effectively use these people as bargaining chips in the UK’s negotiation process”.
In the briefing, Alex Bell, the former SNP adviser, said he thought the Tay Cities Deal, which is to unlock hundreds of millions of pounds of funding for the Dundee area, would be protected from post-Brexit cuts by politicians’ desire for “big cheque moments”.
He said the presenting of large amounts of cash, “usually handed over with great pomp and ceremony”, would likely continue while health and education budgets are cut.
On what the EU could look like in the future without Britain, Professor Matt Qvortrup said he thought the EU “might slim down”, with others following the UK’s lead.
He also said it might be possible for Scotland to retain its place in both the UK and the EU, despite the Leave vote.
He added the decision by Lord Hill, who was the UK’s representative at the EU Commission and held the finance brief, to resign was “incredibly unhelpful” when the UK needs to conduct informal talks ahead of the official negotiation.