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Request that FXU endorses Britain staying in the EU
4 years ago
FXU could follow in the footsteps of the Birmingham Student Union in endorsing the European 'STAY IN' campaign. Vote to demonstrate how you feel regarding this issue. If students are in favour the 'Students For Europe' campaign will be supported and endorsed by FXU.
10:04am on 11 Mar 16
Thank you for submitting this idea. It is great to see an active interest in the EU referendum. FXU is a UK registered charity and has recently received Charity commission guidance on the role we may play in supporting the referendum. This is regulatory guidance that we must follow and we thought it would be useful to share with you that guidance in order to help clarify our role and any implications this may have for your ‘idea’. The first point is that involvement in the referendum is considered by the Commission as a political activity. As such we need to be aware of what the law permits and does not permit us to do. The Commission states “Charities should not engage in political activity in connection with the EU referendum unless they can demonstrate that they comply with the terms of the commission’s guidance on Speaking out: guidance on campaigning and political activity by charities (CC9), on Charities, Elections and Referendums, and this guidance. Trustees must be satisfied that such activity is a proper way to support the delivery of the charity’s purposes and is in the best interests of the charity.” Therefore, for FXU to take a view (other than neutral) we need to demonstrate that such action delivers on our charitable aims and is in the best interests of the charity. To clarify, the Students’ Union’s charitable objectives are to promote the interests and welfare of its students and representing, supporting and advising students; being the recognised representative channel between students and the universities and other external bodies; providing social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and forums for discussion and debate for the personal development of its students. Put into practice this means that we would need to demonstrate that the outcome of the referendum will have an impact on our students (this needs to a direct impact on our members and not necessarily of all students in general). This is an important point as it may not be relevant to say that just because another Students’ Union supports an ‘in’ or ‘out’ vote FXU must follow suit. We must justify our stance on what is in the best interests of our students and our members. We need to be able to explain why we are getting involved in the EU referendum and how we reached our decision to do so. The aims and impact of the EU referendum, whether the outcome is remaining in or leaving the EU, are clearly wider than the objects of our charity. This means that it will inevitably be by exception that FXU would reach a decision to engage in political activity on the referendum. It also means that, as a charity, we must take great care in reaching our decision, be aware that a decision for us to engage in political activity will be closely scrutinised, and be able to explain the reasons why political activity would be ‘incidental, ancillary or subordinate to’ our charitable purposes. Therefore, the requirements of our charity regulations means that this ‘idea’ needs to include more weight to the argument that FXU should support staying in the EU i.e. you will need to demonstrate why FXU should support the ‘In’ campaign and how this will affect our students directly not just simply vote on whether we endorse staying the EU. To counter this any ‘Out’ campaign must also do the same. If not, or if the argument is not clear, then we would need to remain neutral. I hope this helps clarify our position and I wish you well on the debate of the pros and cons of the EU referendum and how it might or might not affect FXU members.
3:28pm on 11 Mar 16
The EU have provided a number of benefits to students across the country and in particular students who study in Tremough and Woodlane Campuses. The first point is that without £173.2 million in creating the combined Universities in Cornwall. Thus without EU funding the student union was unlikely to exist.
3:41pm on 11 Mar 16
My 2nd point is that the current Erasmus programme has made it easier and cheaper for students from both universities to study abroad in another EU country. The Erasmus programme has allowed for over 200,000 students from the UK to study abroad since its establishment in 1987. While 125,000 Europeans have used the scheme to study abroad in the UK. A potential BREXIT will lead to the loss of such a valuable programme to many students across students who study in both campuses.
3:45pm on 11 Mar 16
A third point is that for many EU citizens who come to study at our campus to study at either University would have to face an increase in fees they would have to pay. As Residents of EU nations are usually able to study in other EU nations as 'home students'. Compared to the fees charged to international students thus they would go from paying £9,000 in tuition fees to £15-25,000 for the same course.
3:50pm on 11 Mar 16
Fourthly our quality of education might be severely impacted by Britain leaving the European Union. As a huge number of staff or academics come from the EU and with the right to free movement revoked post Brexit universities may struggle to hire the very best academics from Europe . Thus our quality in staff would be greatly reduced in the long term.
4:01pm on 11 Mar 16
My fifth point is that most universities including the Universities of Exeter and Falmouth have received significant portion of finances from the European Union. While the UK does pay membership fees to the EU, the financial return on universities represents a profit. Having provided 11% of the EU’s overall budget, the UK received 15.5% of the funds available during the last seven-year EU funding programme (FP7). Included within this was disproportionate financial reward from EU academic mobility and foreign exchange programmes, with the UK collecting almost €1.1bn (almost 25% of the funds available) over FP7. A good example of its affects are shown in the improvement of digital games technology for the course using EU funds. https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/content/falmouth-awarded-eu24m-boost-digital-games-technology Or the affect the EU bursaries offer to Falmouth University students who come from an EU Country. https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/student-funding/eu
4:02pm on 11 Mar 16
My sixth point is that the EU offer a vast array of research grants. In addition to general funding, the EU also makes substantial financial contributions to research in UK universities. Research funding from the EU amounts to around £1bn/year, and as Britain’s own national research budget is below international averages, Europe’s share of UK universities’ total income has risen by over 30% in five years. In some cases this has meant that the EU’s share of a single university’s income has increased to as much as 15%. Funding from the ERC (widely considered to be the most prestigious research programme of all) is allocated solely on the basis of research excellence. UK-based research has thus far secured over 20% of all funds disbursed, and between 2007–13, four British institutions were among the 10 most successful recipients.
4:16pm on 11 Mar 16
Hopefully this will be my last point unless I come up with another way the EU offers assistance to students. The job market in which all of us students would have to enter into eventually would be affected by a brexit. It has been acknowledged by various economists including even the Chairman of the Bank of England that a Brexit will have a negative effect on the economy. Thus decreasing our chances of succeeding in a reduced job market. As Mark Carney the chairman of the bank of England even implied a financial crash will ensue if we leave the European Union. Thus for many of us students it is in our interest to remain a part of the EU.
11:37am on 30 Mar 16
Passed on 24/03/2016 and allocated to Exeter President Grace Fisher to action.
9:50am on 11 May 16
Exeter President, Grace Fisher, had to pass this to trustees who said that as charity we are not able to directly endorse leaving the EU. As FXU is a democratic organisation we should encourage debate and promote registration, but not endorse any one side. As a result, there will be voter registration drives in the Compass on Wednesday & Thursday 12th and 13th May, Thursday 26th May and Tuesday 31st May.
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