The University of Brighton is looking to make 110 of its staff redundant, blaming inflation and a freeze in tuition fees.
Staff were yesterday asked to take voluntary redundancy – but warned if not enough come forward, it will be forced to make compulsory redundancies.
The move was criticised by the University and Colleges Union (UCU), which tweeted: “Today the University of Brighton has announced its intention to make more than 100 redundancies saving £17.9m. But our senior management team have just spent a similar amount buying Virgin Active out of a lease.
“We will fight this failure of management.
“Brighton Uni has the 97th worst student-staff ratio in the UK now. Cutting 100 academic jobs will make things worse for our students.”
Among those whose job is at risk is former Hanover councillor and university lecturer Elaine Hills, who stepped down as a councillor as of yesterday because her job was becoming full time.
She tweeted: “Not the best news to hear on election day, yesterday.
“I stood down as a Green councillor to take up a full time lectureship and now my job’s among those at risk of redundancy.”
The university, which is in the middle of a comprehensive redevelopment, closed its Hastings campus in 2019 and is closing its Eastbourne campus, while developing a new campus on Lewes Road, with plans for more development at Falmer.
The university bought the Virgin Active lease in order to redevelop the site for its sport and health science courses, which will be based there from next year.
A spokesperson for the University of Brighton said: “As a provider of high-quality, skills-based education, there are significant opportunities for us to continue to strengthen our position as we look to the future. The proposals for change we have shared with our staff today will help us to do that.
“Like other universities and businesses across all sectors, the backdrop to these changes has a significant financial dimension.
“The decade-long freeze in undergraduate tuition fees has reduced their value in real terms by around a third, while the increase in our costs as a result of generationally high levels of inflation has created further pressure.
“By addressing the immediate financial challenge we face, we can make the most of the opportunities available to us and continue to ensure our future sustainability and success.
“We recognise that this is a very difficult and concerning time for our staff and we will be doing all we can to support those colleagues impacted by these proposals.
“We are hopeful that we can achieve the necessary changes in staff numbers through voluntary means, with compulsory redundancies only as a last resort.”