by Andrew Collins
CITY COLLEGE STAFF AND STUDENTS MARCH AGAINST CUTS
City College staff, campaigners, union members, students and local Green MP Caroline Lucas demonstrated today against planned staff and funding cuts in City College, Brighton.
They took part in a banner march from the college’s Pelham Crescent site, through the lanes, along the seafront and ending up to clock tower. Up to 50 full time staff positions and various non-economically viable courses are to be cut. The college has set aside some £450,000 for redundancy payment.
A College lecturer, Andy, who declined to give his last name, said of the cuts: “City College is a fantastic college as it focuses on students. What they’re doing with this restructure is take the focus off the students and onto this vanity project. The march is to bring back focus to the students.”
The ‘vanity project’ he refers to is the planned £79 million redevelopment of the college’s Pelham Street campus – including a 10 storey new build on the existing car park and up to 442 new student homes, which will include selling the Cheapside building opposite the college. The building plans have already been approved by Brighton and Hove City Council.
Another staff member claimed that the cuts would affect support for the college’s learning difficulty students, including those with dyslexia and said that the college had a history of supporting students with such difficulties.
The NUJ (National Union of Journalists) had several representatives present on the protest as the college’s internationally recognised and award winning NCTJ Journalism courses are to be partly slashed.
Other unions present were Unison, the UK’s largest public service union and UCU – the University and College Union.
Around 70 people turned up for the march, with minimal police escort as they made their way to the clock tower, handing out leaflets on the way to the public.