So, the UK voted out. Leaving aside my personal disappointment at the result, my first thought was: “Crumbs, what does this mean for our universities? And for fundraising?”
The answer to that question is… erm… well, nobody really knows.
It’s unlikely we’ll be able to ignore the GDPR and everything encompassed in the re-vamp of data protection legislation, as we’ll still want to contact our EU alumni. And if nothing else, whatever you may think of the regulations, it’s probably good practice to treat our constituents nicely in terms of how we contact them.
I can’t imagine that all EU research funding will immediately disappear but it will surely have an impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a hub for the very best scientists, engineers, artists, historians and so on.
And that’s to say nothing of the EU students already learning and contributing to the UK’s knowledge and skills-base by choosing to uproot themselves and study in these increasingly fractured isles. How must they be feeling right now?
The most frustrating thing for me is the sense of just not-knowing anything. Nobody in Whitehall apparently had a plan, and nobody on the Leave side seems particularly keen to speak up and take charge. So what can we, as mere university fundraisers, do?
Well, we’ll continue doing what we do. We’re pretty good at doing it.
We’ll keep supporting the students who need help to come to, and to stay at, university. We’ll keep talking about our researchers and the life-changing impact they’re having all over the world. We’ll keep welcoming colleagues, students, families, visitors and anyone else who’s interested in education, regardless of which part of Europe, Africa, Asia or the Americas from which they hail.
Because we believe in education, and that education is for all people, whether we’re in, out or panicked-and-running-about.