University of Brighton issues statement on Hastings review

The University of Brightons Hastings campus
The University of Brightons Hastings campus

The University of Brighton has issued a statement on the future of its Hastings campus.

The statement confirms it will continue to ‘support the delivery of higher education in Hastings through an evolution of its current provision in the town’.

However, it fails to answer any of the questions posed by the Observer on what this will mean for students and staff.

It also failed to respond to claims students at a union assembly were told the campus would ‘close in two years’.

Speaking about the results of the review it said:

“Whilst the current model for higher education provision has been successful in opening up higher education opportunities in the town, it is not sustainable in the longer term.

“A predicted sharp fall in the number of 16-17 year olds in the town and surrounding areas mirrors a similar trend across the rest of the UK.

“This is resulting in increased competition for students both nationally and internationally.

“Any future investment in Hastings by the university needs to take into account not only its impact on the town and surrounding area, but also the university’s wider strategic priorities, future sustainability and growth.

“As a result of the review the university management board recommended that the university should continue to support the delivery of a more focused higher education offering in the town targeting the local community.

“This could be delivered through a broadening and deepening of its relationship with Sussex Coast College Hastings.

“This recommendation was endorsed by the university’s board of governors who resolved that the university evolve a new model of provision in Hastings as part of its strategic development.

“The objective is to develop this model working with local partners, employers and Sussex Coast College Hastings.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said: “I am pleased that the University of Brighton will continue to play an important role in the continuing social and economic regeneration of Hastings.

“The evolution of our higher education provision in the town, in partnership with SCCH and other partners, will provide a more sustainable basis on which to continue to build on the successes of our students and staff in Hastings over the past decade.

“There are many great examples of this revised model across the country and we will look to learn from them.

“I look forward to engaging with our partners, stakeholders, staff and students in Hastings as we develop and roll-out the new model for future provision.”

The Observer sent the university a list of questions, following the email sent out to all students earlier today.

They included the following:

What were the four options looked at during the review?

What will ‘support’ for higher education in Hastings mean?

Will any of the buildings or courses transfer to Sussex Coast College?

Is there any risk of staff redundancies?

Will any courses be transferred to other campuses?

Will any of the current university buildings be sold off?

How will a more ‘sustainable offering’ be delivered?

Will it mean an eventual reduction in staff, students or courses?

Third year student Ré Poko, who attended today’s assembly, said: “The decision to close this campus down is completely financially motivated.

“The senior management team have no respect for the students, staff and the community here who’ve fought to bring quality higher education to the area.

“Everything the university proposed is counter-productive not only for the students and staff who do not want to move, but also to Hastings.

“The fact that hundreds of UoB students were homeless this year and they haven’t dealt with that yet, but want to kill off a vibrant and growing learning community, as well as add the growing homeless student population in Brighton is farcical.

“The students union want to fight this with all of the power that they have, supported by staff unions and the community in Hastings we can show the board of governors that their disrespectful and damaging actions have consequences.”

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