Unions described the ‘devastating’ final decision to close Hastings’ university campus as ‘educational vandalism’.
University of Brighton’s board of governors rubber-stamped the plan to shut the campus by the summer of 2019 and support a ‘university centre’ provided by Sussex Coast College on Friday (December 16).
UCU and Unison bosses were dismayed the decision with the weight of public opinion against the closure, highlighted by the consultation responses.
“As the trade unions predicted from the beginning, the University’s proposal never represented an ‘evolution’ of the provision of higher education in Hastings, but its virtual extinction,” a joint statement said.
The unions said the strength of feeling in opposition to the changes, 75 per cent of respondents, gives no justification for them.
“We feel that it is incumbent on the University to take into account the views expressed so clearly by the consultation,” the statement read.
“Failure to do so would reflect very badly on the institution’s commitment to openness and its role as a public resource.”
UoB and SCCH believe the ‘university centre’ will be a success to maintain higher education in Hastings, with the campus ‘financially unviable’ due to a lack of students.
UCU and Unison also criticised UoB saying it would be ‘disastrous’ for its reputation and students’ morale across its campuses who would feel ‘betrayed’, as well as claiming the university would lose money.
Brighton Students’ Union said it was ‘very disappointed’ despite its president, Hayley Wood, voted against the closure at Friday’s board meeting.
“We will now be working with the university to ensure that the student experience is protected for all students studying in Hastings until the campus closes,” a students’ union statement said.
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