The referendum in the UK is dominating the news. The British will vote on June 23rd to leave or remain in the EU. The poll leaves some British at the university uncertain about their future.
‘The biggest uncertainty is that no one knows whats going to happen if we do chose to leave the EU’, says Rob Smith. He is a Systems Biologist at the university and has been living in The Netherlands for the past 2,5 years. He thinks people will vote to remain in the EU.
‘It’s fifty-fifty now, but the people who haven't decided yet will ultimately vote to keep things as they are. It's never happened before that a country left the EU so we have no idea about the impact of leaving. Not knowing what’s going to happen will make people want to keep things as they are.’
Smith became worried a few months back when the preliminary polls showed that the ‘Leave’ campaign was winning over more votes. ‘I already cast my postal vote to stay. I don’t want to be restricted to the UK. I want to be able to go where I please, and to work wherever I want in the EU.’
Freedom is also part of the reason why Keiran Leigh-Moy voted to remain. He is a student at Wageningen UR and he is able to receive his Master's degree because of EU-regulations. But for him it was a lot harder to make up his mind on what to vote. ‘It’s all a mystery what happens when we leave. I tried to understand it but couldn’t get a grip on the facts.’
He leaned towards voting to leave, but was swayed to the other side by former Greece Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Leigh-Moy: ‘To lose freedom of movement and work would be terrible. But at the same time I want to leave the EU because of all the bureaucracy and nepotism in Brussels. In the end I listened to people I respect. Varoufakis said he wants the UK to remain in the EU so that’s what I voted for.’
The Vice-Councillors of 96 Brittish universities wrote in an open letter that Great Brittain must remain in the EU. They are gravely concerened about the impact a Brexit could have on universities and students. The academic world has spoken against parting with the EU. Stephen Hawking along with 150 other scientists said earlier that a 'Leave' vote would be a disaster for science in the UK. It would also deter international students from coming to study at Brittish universities.