On her first visit to the city since being appointed Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams has said students and staff from across the European Union are welcome at Swansea University.
Touring the University’s £450m Science and Innovations campus she addressed concerns raised in the aftermath of the referendum, saying how those from across the EU studying at universities in Wales are still valued and wanted members of the education community. The Education Secretary also praised EU staff who are vital to the Welsh higher education sector.
Kirsty Williams said:
“Swansea University is a success that the city can be proud of, gaining investment from the EU to expand and attracting students and staff from around the world.
“Now we face uncertainty and worry following the recent referendum. I want to be clear that students and staff from across the European Union are still welcome at Swansea University, indeed they are welcome at all Welsh Universities. Those already studying here, and those who are planning to come are still welcome, our places of learning are still there for you.
“The long, proud tradition of European students coming to Swansea have created important links for Wales with many countries. There are thousands of people who have a special place for this city in their hearts after studying here. Our country will remain a tolerant, accepting and safe place where people from any nation can pursue their academic ambitions.
“Let me be clear, we will not tolerate any form of racial abuse whether on our campuses or within the wider communities in which we are rooted. Welsh universities will continue to recruit and teach students from the EU and the wider world.
“Our universities are central to our social and economic future and they thrive through the diversity of the people who come to them.
“The Welsh Government is determined to protect Wales’ reputation as a friendly and tolerant place to study and carry out world-class research. Whatever the long-term implication of the vote, we remain an outward looking and welcoming nation where we are committed to sharing knowledge across national borders.”
Professor Richard B Davies, Swansea University’s Vice-Chancellor, said:
“Since its establishment in 1920, this progressive University has proven that it is not afraid of challenges, nor of ambition. The University has been – and will continue to be an – outward-looking community which values and celebrates its links with Europe, and beyond.
“Swansea University has been ranked among the world’s top 200 ‘most international universities’ by the Times Higher Education, and in these uncertain and challenging times, I am confident about the ability of this University to rise to meet challenges and to transform them into opportunities.
“Swansea, more than most UK universities, has robust, high quality and growing relationships in research, joint programmes and reciprocal mobility with Universities across the EU and across the globe. It has a well-developed and successful record in working with strategic partners – many of them at the very top of global achievement tables.
“These partnerships especially in North America, the middle and Far East, China, and Korea will now be up-scaled so that Swansea not only weathers the -Brexit storm, but uses its global connections to help shape the post-Brexit Wales.
“It is a pleasure to welcome the Education Secretary to Swansea and our magnificent new Bay Campus, on her first visit to the city since her appointment. I would strongly echo the Education Secretary’s message that students and staff from across the EU are valued, wanted, and most welcome at Swansea University and in Wales.