Brexit campaigners have slammed the University of Wolverhampton for issuing a letter to students, urging them to vote for Britain to remain in the European Union.
West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour, and the chairman of the West Midlands branch of Young Independence, Councillor Thomas Hoof, condemned the university for its ‘shamelessly manipulative and one-sided’ views.
They claimed the university, which has bases in both Wolverhampton and Telford, should be remaining non-partisan during the campaign.
In an official letter to students, University of Wolverhampton Vice Chancellor Geoff Layer says: “Our University community is made of up of students and staff representing more than 100 nations.
“The University has made a stand in the EU referendum and as a University we believe it is better for all of us to remain.
“The EU has been very supportive of the University and its role. In this century we have received nearly £70 million of project and initiative funding from Europe.”
UKIP MEP Jill Seymour said: “This is yet another example of an organisation with a vested financial interest in Europe making a shamelessly manipulative attempt to sway the referendum.
“For the university to imply that its excellent cross-border research work would cease if we vote to leave the European Union is scaremongering nonsense, without a shred of evidence to back it up.”
Telford-based Councillor Thomas Hoof, who chairs UKIP’s Young Independence branch in the West Midlands, added: “People don’t want or expect their college or university to put pressure on students by taking a one-sided political stance.
“They expect them to deliver balanced arguments which represent both sides, and which leave students to make up their own minds. And if they don’t feel they are able to do that, they should just keep their mouths shut.
“The University points to the European money it has received – but there is no such thing as European money. It is our money!
“Every week, we hand the EU £350 million – that’s about half the entire English schools budget - and we only get a fraction of this back.”
“If we vote to leave the EU on June 23, the University of Wolverhampton would be able to apply – like all other educational establishments – to our own Government for funding, instead of having to go cap-in-hand to a group of unelected Brussels saying ‘Please can we have some of our own money back?’”
In its letter, the university tells students that leaving the EU would mean cutting UK universities off from unique support and established networks, undermining the UK’s position as a global leader in science and innovation.
Jill Seymour said: “The UK has long had a reputation as one of the best countries in the world to study, and there is no reason at all why we would not continue to welcome students from different nationalities and backgrounds when we were outside the European Union.”