Dear Members of the Warwick Community,
Many of us have been closely following the news from Hong Kong over the past few months, and in particular the significant rise in civil unrest and violence over the last few weeks. We have a number of staff and exchange students in Hong Kong, and the footage and reports over the past week or so have left us with real concerns for their safety and wellbeing.
Last week, we concluded that there were sufficient concerns for their ongoing safety that they be strongly advised to leave Hong Kong at this time. Many other UK and international universities have reached the same decision. We have reached out to all of the impacted staff and students to check on their welfare, advise them of that decision, inform them that the University will reimburse their travel costs, and offer advice and support to help them leave as soon as possible.
Whilst this decision will disrupt the studies of the affected students in the short-term, our first and foremost priority has been their safety. Once they have all safely returned, we will move to resolve other issues relating to that decision. However, let me assure you that the progression of no student will be detrimentally impacted by this decision to curtail their time in Hong Kong.
This was a difficult decision to come to as we are extremely proud of our partnerships and many close connections with the universities and people of Hong Kong. We are also concerned for all those from Hong Kong and mainland China who have close connections to the University and who reside there. We hope that they too will remain safe and that they will soon be able to welcome back our staff and students.
As our students and staff return they will see that the events in Hong Kong have also led to passionate and intense debate across UK university campuses. Such matters should inspire such debate but I would ask everyone concerned to be equally passionate about respecting the rights and dignity of everyone in our campus community, particularly those with whom you disagree most.
Our campus must remain a safe and welcoming place for all.
18 November 2019