By Ré Poko - News Editor
"From Brighton, this issue may be easy to forget, but in Hastings it is at the front of everyone's minds and students and staff alike are worried about potential outcomes" - (HCAT email to Senior SU Staff )
Despite promises from senior UoB figures; students, staff and the local community are still in the dark in regard to the future of the Hastings Campus.
Students and staff did not know anything about the situation until a local paper revealed that one of the potential outcomes of the ongoing review was the campus closing down.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Debra Humphris, was quick to reassure Hastings Students at a hurriedly arranged meeting that there would be no change to their learning, and that the campus was still recruiting for the upcoming academic year.
“This will not affect your studies, the most important thing that you can continue to do, is getting that amazing degree from the University of Brighton”. - (Professor Debra Humphris upon the leaked news of the Campus Review)
For several students at the meeting this was not a good enough answer, and several pressed the Vice Chancellor to acknowledge that the potential impact of such a decision would extend further than the students who currently study here.
Many have raised concerns regarding the University’s pledge to support the 25 year plan of Hastings’ regeneration, and at the meeting Community Organiser Sam Kinch challenged this, receiving strong support from those gathered.
“If the University backs out of it’s commitment, where does that leave Hastings?”
Many of the student and staff present urged the VC, and her colleagues in marketing, to release an official statement to local press to remedy the damage done by the original “sensationalist” article.
Professor Humphris promised to do this, agreeing that it was a vital next step in the communication with the community, but so far, has not done so.
An email, from the Hastings Campus Action Team to Senior SU staff, expressed their dissatisfaction at the VC and UoB’s failure to make any meaningful attempt to steer the local narrative surrounding the campus in a more factual direction.
“Professor Humphris pledged, under considerable pressure, that she would release a statement of some kind to allay fears from the Hastings Community about the campus review. I have, thus far, not been able to see one… From Brighton, this issue may be easy to forget, but in Hastings it is at the front of everyone's minds and students and staff alike are worried about potential outcomes.”
The email continued to challenge the lack of communication with the people of Hastings: "coming to hastily arranged meetings and leaving empty promises ringing in our ears is not the same as engaging in a meaningful dialogue with the community here".
Sabbatical officers from The Student Union responded by promising to apply more pressure for a statement from the VC immediately, and work more in the long term to keep communication channels open.