The leader of Hastings Borough Council has said the authority will do ‘everything it can’ to keep the University of Brighton in the town.
Peter Chowney spoke to the Observer following yesterday’s announcement that the university was reviewing the future of its campus in the town.
“We will obviously be making a strong argument for the University of Brighton to keep its Hastings campus,” he said.
“The university in Hastings is an essential part of the regeneration of the town.”
Cllr Chowney said having a campus in Hastings offered opportunities to local students who would ‘otherwise never have gone’ to University, as well as leaving a legacy of education in the town.
“The university has always seen regeneration and investment to be part of its role,” he said.
“A lot of public money for the purpose of regeneration in Hastings went into creating those university buildings.
“It would be a great pity if it closes.”
Despite the review, the university is still going ahead with refurbishment of its current buildings.
“They are carrying out work as we speak, the original Havelock Road building is having a complete renovation,” said Cllr Chowney.
“It is a review and they haven’t made a decision yet.
“The university board will be making the decision and right up until this moment, this week, they have been fully supportive of the university in Hastings and have been doing all this work and spending all this money.”
As the news broke yesterday, several students showed their support for the Hastings campus on our Facebook page.
Elspeth Sarah Miles wrote: “The University of Brighton in Hastings is a brilliant place to be, I am in my first year and drive 40 minutes to get there three days a week.
“It is the closest university to me and I would definitely recommend anyone to study there, the staff and campus are so friendly and helpful you could not ask for better.
“There are many positives to being a smaller, more personal campus and it would be an immense loss for a lot of people if anything were to change.”
Emma Mendes wrote: “I prefer the Hastings site.
“Bright,spacious rooms and perfectly situated.
“Shame they have moved all our teaching to Eastbourne and it would be a loss to the town if we loose the buildings all together.”
However, not everyone was so positive.
JeanMark wrote to us asking if we could conduct a poll to see how many students would be in favour of the move.
“As a student I would very much be in support of moving to a different campus because I strongly feel that the Hastings campus simply does not provide a university experience or anything remotely similar,” he said.
“I live in Brighton and understand that my having to commute could be a factor in that, but since I’ve been here I’ve been to five different universities around England visiting friends and in my few days spent at each one I experience more of what Uni, at least in my opinion, should feel like.
“I have friends who have dropped out of my course because they are not enjoying their time in Hastings even though they enjoy the course, and I’ve considered transferring myself.”
Liss Burnett said she believed the student enrolment was low because of ‘limited courses’.
“I travel four days per week from Bexhill to Brighton because the Hastings campus didn’t offer a wide range of courses,” she said.
The Observer has requested a comment from the University of Brighton Student Union and the University and College Union which represents staff members in further education.
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