The Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, Michael Farthing, has expressed concerns for the ‘very serious and significant ramifications’ following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.

In a statement yesterday, he said the vote for Brexit on Thursday has ‘massive implications for us all’ and that ‘we must do whatever we can to retain we can to retain the contribution of universities to the economic and social life of Britain’. He also lamented that there will be ‘long-term implications for our researchers and students who are currently involved in EU funded programmes’ and that the result does not reflect the views of the majority of staff and students at Sussex. In a poll conducted by Sussex University, 82% of staff and students had supported Britain’s membership of the EU.

However, Farthing reassured Sussex that there will not be an immediate impact on the immigration status of current and prospective staff and students from EU countries, and that, for the time being, Britain would remain part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and the Erasmus scheme. He added that the University’s Senior Management Group has already discussed the possible consequences of a Brexit to the University, including what mitigating steps may be required in terms of the running and livelihood of Sussex.

Britain voted to leave the European Union, with 52% of people choosing to bring to an end the country’s 43-year long membership of the now 28-member organisation. Brighton and Hove, with 68.6% of Brightonians voting to remain members of the EU. Nearby Lewes also voted to remain, but by a much smaller margin.

Vote Leave have celebrated the result, saying the British people have voted to ‘take back control’, whilst the Remain campaign have expressed concern for the direction of the country, with fears that Scotland and Northern Ireland may want referenda to break away from the United Kingdom after both regions voted to Remain.