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RHUL responds to the Brexit teaching letter

Royal Holloway withheld the information Mr Heaton-Harris requested.

Royal Holloway withheld the information Mr Heaton-Harris requested

Rosa Smith

University vice-chancellors all over the UK were approached in October by third most senior government whip, Chris Heaton-Harris, asking for details of Brexit teaching.

There was a mixed response from universities, with some denouncing it as political interference in academic freedom, whilst other universities were quick to strike a bargain.

Mr Heaton-Harris, a staunch Eurosceptic, asked universities for ‘the names of professors at your establishment who are involved in the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit.’ He also requested ‘a copy of the syllabus and links to the online lectures which relate to this area.’

Of 59 universities that responded to Mr Heaton-Harris’s letter, 28 were cooperative, providing Mr Heaton-Harris with most or all of what he asked for.

Royal Holloway declined to provide Mr Heaton-Harris with a list of names of professors who are involved with the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit, stating:

‘Whilst Brexit and its impact are matters attracting significant public interest, there is also heightened sensitivity following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. The College considers that this sensitivity is such that disclosure of staff names could lead to unwarranted repercussions.’

RHUL also declined to disclose a copy of the syllabus and links to the online lectures which related to the topic, due to it effecting the College’s ability to compete in the student market. Royal Holloway withheld the information Mr Heaton-Harris requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

A spokesperson from Royal Holloway, told The Founder:

‘Ours is a global community and we are proud to be among the most international universities in the UK.  We welcome students and academics from all over the world to study and work here, ensuring an international and multi-cultural perspective across a close-knit and historic campus.

‘We collaborate with institutions, companies, NGOs and governments around the world.  By sharing views, values and culture we learn from one another and deepen our understanding of the world, our role and purpose in it and how we can have a positive impact.  We value our diversity and our community is strengthened by it.’

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