50 years

August 1974 - July 1975

  • Asa Briggs is to stand down as VC
  • Nationally there is a dispiriting narrowing of horizons
  • Still experiencing financial uncertainty especially around UGC funding. High inflation is still a big problem, making it difficult to plan for the future as well as manage day-to-day running costs. There is anxiety about maintaining key university services eg maintenance, community services and student rents and there are fears that the lack of funding is undermining the University as a leader in the international field
  • Building plans in Arts are delayed and there will be no new BIOLS school
  • Some faculty are anxious about their research programmes in science, and the hours of teaching in arts. There are tensions in the spring term around the recruitment of enough full-time faculty to cope with teaching loads
  • Academic salaries are pegged at eight per cent increase when most comparable professions get anything up to 30 per cent increase
  • Student rents on campus are £7 per week for one room including heating. Council house rent for a three-bedroomed house is £5 plus heating. The University is facing heavy losses on rent
  • Student grants are an inadequate £740 per year. Wages of the lowest paid have risen much faster. Grants have increased by 118 per cent over the past 10 years while the starting salary of clerical staff has increased by 310 per cent in the same time period. The possibility of a student loan to alleviate the problem and top up the grant is discussed
  • Falmer House is a focus for Student Union activity: developing the refectory with a new late-night snack bar, extra seating and upgraded kitchens are planned, as is a new social facility to serve East Slope. All plans are awaiting go-ahead
  • Accommodation is still a major problem and the guest-house agreement has now expired. The private rented accommodation market has shrunk. East slope first stage opens October 1974 to help alleviate the shortage, with the second stage to be completed in October 1975. There are a total of 1,650 places on campus and 246 off campus: 45 per cent of all students are in university accommodation
  • A private donor has allowed the crèche to expand from 20 to 29 places and it is still being run co-operatively with paid staff and parents. It is seen nationally as a model for other universities, but demand outstrips the number of available places, likewise in the nursery
  • The Gardener Centre is now six years' old and average attendance is up by 20 per cent. Funding is not secure but Arts Council is still providing support
  • Student numbers are increasing but the rate of increase is slowing. It is predicted that by 1980 there will be no more than 4,400 students; around 1,000 fewer than originally planned
  • There are student tensions in the autumn term
  • The international nature of Sussex is emphasised with discussions on Britain, the EEC and Sussex's role within it; as well as continued research by AFRAS into the 'Third World'
  • EURO differs from conventional European studies departments with their emphasis on languages but Sussex embeds language teaching in other subjects including literature, politics, and history. By 1974-75 the intention is to embed languages in a wider range of subjects
  • The proposed merger between the University and the College of Education is being dropped with plans for the University to merge with Brighton Polytechnic instead
  • Between 1968-69 and 1972-73 the proportion of Sussex's income from research grants and contracts was higher than that of any other university in the UK, ranging between 18 and 23 per cent. In terms of research income, Sussex ranked first in Education, fourth in Physical Sciences, fifth in Biological Sciences, eighth for other technologies and 11th for Engineering
  • John Cornforth is awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Student numbers

3,939 students