Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Student protest

Student protest Photo Tom Foy

Demonstration to save campus

Interested in maintaining Hastings campus? In the mood for demonstrating your position by taking part in a demonstration this Saturday (14 May)? Meet at Priory Square at noon and march with all the other supporters – local and from further afield – who care about maintaining the town’s campus.

Everyone will be marching from Priory Square to the pier and then back to the town centre, where the rally will reconvene once again in Priory Square and a mystery guest speaker will be making an announcement. The Brass Monkey have kindly offered to host an after-march party.. You can join at any point along the way. Be colourful, bring music, banners posters, say how you feel. Bring friends, family, work colleagues. Spread the word!

Call to demonstrate this Saturday!

“Growing support in the local community following the public meeting at the Azur, is expected to guarantee bumper numbers at the rally organised by members of the #HandsOffHastings Campaign,” says Sam Kinch, one of the Brighton supporters. “The rally, intentionally planned for a weekend, will provide an opportunity for local community members who have been unable to attend previous events due to work commitments to show support for the campaign.

“This will be the latest in a series of events planned by the #HandsOffHastings campaign, aimed at raising awareness and support for their ongoing campaign to overturn the decision by the University of Brighton to close their Hastings campus.

“There will be ongoing events throughout the year and the next planned is a public consultation inviting community members to participate in “The People’s Consultation”, feeding in their thoughts, knowledge and experience to create an alternative vision for the future of the University in Hastings. This will take place on 10th June, at UoB Priory Square Campus 2-6pm.”

DEMONSTRATE against campus closure
Saturday 14 May. Assemble Priory Square 12noon. Marching from Priory Square to the pier and back to the town centre. Please spread the word!

Further info on the campaign:
Facebook page: Hands Off Hastings
Website: Hands Off Hastings
Petition: Save Hastings Campus

To hear more from the campaign, click on this link.

A personal appeal

Maggie Lloyd, library staff member at UCH, writes: “Brighton University in Hastings is the 5th campus of the University. It started 13 years ago as UCH but became a full member of Brighton’s campus about 6 years ago.

“We have expanded to 32 courses and now 3 buildings which the University has only just completed refurbishing in November 2015.

“However the fact that we were under review was only made known this January. The Board of Governors’ meeting in March first told the Unions (UCU, Unison & SU) that UCH was to be closed. But by the next day they were back-tracking and saying that they will support a Hastings University Centre.

“This turns out to be a proposed arrangement, whereby of the 32 courses provided in Hastings, over half are still to be closed with some going to Brighton’s campuses at Eastbourne and Falmer and 3 Foundation Degrees being fielded by Sussex Coast College in Hastings.

“A campaign is under way to keep the Hastings campus open. You can learn more from the Facebook Group: Hastings Campus Solidarity and Twitter: #handsoffhastings

“You can also Sign the petition  and get everyone you know to sign too. We are holding a DEMO in Hastings on Saturday 14 May. That is very soon! We want all of Hastings to be there to show the University the strength of this town. So come and join us!

The Public meeting at Azur

Jess Carr attended the public meeting at Azur on the seafront and writes: “I attended the public meeting at Azur and heard a strong message of support from our MP and an equally forceful pair of speeches by Councillor Peter Chowney. There were also eloquent presentations from senior members of staff and well-informed and passionate contributions from the floor. All were insistent that UCH must be kept open.

“The room was at about 45% capacity, but the pier was saved by, in the first instance, a tiny group of people commiting themselves to the project, with no resources at all to begin with.

“£12 million was the last sum recently invested in the college. Of all the Brighton University locations, it leads the lot in its mathematics results, a subject in which Britain’s educational record is often lamentable. But I seem to recall a mathematician and also a physicist or so of some distinction living hereabouts in the last century.

“I mention that because there has been some sneering at UCH, with insinuations being made that this area is stony demographic ground with its poverty and unemployment. This is, as so often, turning round cause and effect. Give people a chance and the poverty and unemployment might well diminish.

“There’s a wealth divide here, and the last speaker that evening was right, surely, when he said that this closure is not about the money – student numbers are solid and the books are balanced and UCH comfortably in the black – but about prestige.

“Many people in Hastings now make their living from the arts and in the media. It’s striking how many create installations and films and computer-aided design. That’s all great. Many of these people were privileged enough to go to the very best universities and colleges when grants were still available and higher education was not the bowel-loosening roller-coaster ride through accumulating debt that it is now.

“But these lovely activities depend on computer engineers, film crews, and a great range of people with technical know-how. And these skills UCH helps supply. It’s a Higher Educational establishment for the 21st century, and one which people working here and now, people bringing a lot of money to the town, need.

“Someone else said this evening that Higher Education is as valuable, as non-negotiable a part of the community we live in, as a hospital. It’s not a luxury, but we live in recidivist times when many short-sighted and selfish ideas are once again gaining ground – to the detriment of us all in the end. Hastings could redefine what prestige means for itself. It could be about inclusivity, and surely that is what regeneration should mean in part too.

“Like some other ancient towns and cities in Britain it could have its own university and be proud to own it, with the additional merit of reaching out to those who take a massive chance when they embark on a degree because they have no safety-nets, or come from backgrounds with very limited resources and access. Hastings could own this approach and be proud of it.

“Please consider lending your support to the campaign to keep Hastings University College open. If you don’t think it’s up to much, consider the above points, (or consider what you could do to make it better). Remember that Higher Education is a complex, fragile, evolving proposition and that a couple of decades is not enough to condemn an establishment which is doing its damnest to bring greater opportunities to an area which desperately needs them. The icing round here is lovely – don’t forget the cake.”

Previous HOT articles on Hastings’ campus:

Labour adds its voice to campaign to save Hastings’ university campus from closure

Hands Off Hastings

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Posted 19:17 Thursday, May 12, 2016 In: Campaigns

Also in: Campaigns

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