Hastings University Campus – Why we must save it, and how we can do it!
2nd November Hastings Observer “University bosses made up their minds as consultation ends”
19th October 2016 A public letter in response to the Hastings Campus Consultation Sham
HASTINGS CAMPUS CONSULTATION SHAM
With weeks left to go in the much-publicised Hastings campus consultation exercise, papers have revealed that plans for the new ‘University Centre’ are already well advanced.
Whilst the Deputy Vice Chancellor insists decisions have yet to be made, the minutes of the university’s curriculum planning group show that university management have made up their minds about many of the most important issues and are moving closer to their realisation. This includes making decisions on the nature of the ‘partnership’ between the university and South Coast College Hastings, the majority of the courses to be delivered, and some issues relating to facilities and staffing. Contingency plans have also been made in the event of the collapse of SCCH.
The most significant decision is the intention that ‘all provision delivered through the partnership arrangement with SCCH would be delivered under a validation partnership from 2017’. Crucially, under this arrangement the Higher Education courses in the town would not be taught by University of Brighton staff or have their learning supported by university staff. The University of Brighton already validate some courses at SCCH and in a number of FE colleges across the county. The model for the new University Centre therefore represents merely an extension of the HE courses offered at SCCH, repackaged under the banner of a ‘University Centre’.
Furthermore, staff at the university feel betrayed by the manner in which University management have again made decisions about the future of the Hastings campus without consulting staff or local people affected, whilst publicising a very limited consultation exercise that now appears to be no more than a public relations exercise designed to pacify those who oppose the campus closure. Those aggrieved by this are encouraged to write to the Chair of the Board of Governors of the University demanding that the University be made to acknowledge its failure to engage in an open and honest consultation, to scrap all current plans, and begin a genuine consultation.
Sign and share the Save Hastings Campus petition
14th May Demonstration got good coverage in local media
See our own video report below
See the BBC South East today report
See the ITV Meridian report
Slideshow Hastings and St Leonards Observer: Hundreds march to save Hastings uni campus
The creation of the Hastings campus of the University of Brighton was of critical importance for the future of the town and the surrounding area. The University of Brighton campus is crucial for regeneration in the region, and for making the idea of a university education something to which young people who had never thought themselves capable of Higher Education could aspire. It is important economically and socially both to the town and to the geographical area – it is a stimulus to trade, and a pole of attraction for inward investment and the jobs that come with it.
The decision to establish the campus, and the commitment to ensure its growth and development over its first two decades, was one of the practical outcomes of the vision of the university of the c.21st embodied in the University of Brighton Strategic Plan – a vision that stretched to 2020. That vision saw a university not as an ivory tower, and not as an institution in which an elite could invest themselves for three years to secure privileged income and status. It was a vision of a university as part of a community, and with responsibility for and duties to the regional community in which it is located. Key to those duties was the commitment to widening the participation of young people in university life, making the acquisition of knowledge and intellectual skills available to an ever widening proportion of society.
The recent decision by the new management at the University of Brighton is a reversal of those commitments. It is a decision that has the support of neither staff nor the students at the University, neither those on the Hastings campus nor those in Brighton and in Eastbourne. Indeed, neither staff nor students were consulted. Moreover, it was a decision made without consideration of the availability of the necessary information, and without consideration of its short or long-term effects on Hastings, on the area, or on the national reputation of the University. It was a decision that by-passed the Academic Board of the University – the body whose role is to oversee all decisions with a teaching or research impact.
For these reasons, this decision must be challenged, and cannot be allowed to stand. The future of the University of Brighton campus on Hastings is NOT decided. Staff and students, and many sectors of the local community are determined that the campus will remain, and that the University’s commitment to the community will be preserved.
The withdrawal from Hastings represents a major change of policy for the University of Brighton as former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Stuart Laing, makes clear in a piece in the Times Higher article Community enganement – what universities should be
See also the earlier piece on the rationale for the Hastings Campus by former Vice Chancellor, Julian Crampton – Regeneration through educationThe philosophy of community engagement and HE as a public good, dating from Professor David Watson’s tenure as Vice Chancellor, has been usurped by a business ethic with an obsession with the bottom line.
Motion on Hastings Closure Passed Unanimously by Grand Parade Branch, text below:
This branch notes
the threat of the closure by the University of Brighton of its Hastings campus
that this would mean the loss of dozens of jobs and the loss of the education provision currently provided by them
that the Hastings campus has been playing an important role in widening educational opportunities in an area where participation in higher education is low
the shift in ethos away from community engagement signalled by a possible withdrawal by the University from Hastings following the decision not to proceed with a campus in the Gatwick Triangle.
This branch condemns
the fact that staff found out about the possible closure through the media
the lack of consultation with staff and their unions prior to commissioning the review
the attack on Hastings staff made in the University’s statement to the press and repeated in the VC’s mailing.
reaffirms its opposition to all redundancies at University of Brighton
resolves to use all available means, up to and including industrial action if necessary, to prevent redundancies.
Hastings Campaign Events:
6th of May, 2016 – 0.730 am – The Board of Governors are meeting in Mithras House. Staff and students will be in attendance to lobby the governors as they arrive. This is with a view to the governors reconsidering their decision to close the Hastings Campus.
14th of May, 2016 – Demonstration against Hastings Closure- Priory Square Hastings – A public rally with speakers and a procession around the town. This is UCU, Unison, SU and the Public.