Referendum Statement

The University of Oxford, founded some nine centuries ago, has enjoyed the closest links, throughout its long history, with the great centres of learning across Europe. The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages has been in the vanguard of welcoming and integrating students and scholars from the whole Continent to work with its own academic community in promoting knowledge of European languages, cultures and society.

The result of the recent British referendum does nothing to shake our firm resolve to keep open the channels of communication and understanding, which are essential between nations so closely bonded by history, commerce and shared cultural heritage. The Faculty deplores the jingoistic rhetoric used during the recent campaign, which risks fuelling tensions with communities who have successfully integrated in Britain, and whose languages and cultures are central to what we study.

The Faculty recognises the enormous value, both intellectually and socially, of the international nature of the University, among students, academics and non-academic staff. It is precisely through the study of the language and culture of our fellow European nations that we can break down misunderstandings and prejudices, and develop the linguistic and cultural engagement which will help us to promote peace and prosperity in our Continent, and in the wider world. Our graduates, from Britain, from Europe, and beyond, well grounded in languages, cultures and history, will be ideally equipped to foster such international understanding, never more needed than now, faced with the threat of rising intolerance. 

Now more than ever, our Faculty will be resolute, in company with the wider academic community in Britain, and with our international partners, in protecting and advancing collaborative research projects, in welcoming European students, in promoting staff and student exchanges, and in maintaining this University as what our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, has called a “wonderful cosmopolitan community of scholars and students, united in our commitment to education and research, which will continue to thrive, and will emerge even stronger from these extraordinary times.”

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