50 years

August 1978 - July 1979

  • Difficult year financially. Long-term financial planning by the Government is delayed again, especially now the Conservatives are in power and a cut in real terms of around three per cent of the budget is envisaged. University is working in the unknown with regards to future Governement plans for HE
  • Overseas tuition fees are to be subtracted from UGC funding. This will seriously affect Sussex and will mean a steep increase in fees for overseas students
  • The 'worst year by far' for student unrest. A arrange of student occupations starting in the autumn term about the lack of security on campus at night. Spring term sees an 'extensive and damaging occupation ... unprecedented in the history of the University'. Occupation begins on 1 March 1979 in Sussex House. The Students' Union places no time limitation on it and does not restrict it to a particular building. The University applies to the High Court for a writ for repossession and Sussex House is repossessed after about a week. The occupation moves to Arts D, another writ is issued but on 19 March the bailiff is unsuccessful. However, students bring the occupation to an end on 21 March. The reason for the occupation was the situation with overseas tuition fees. The worst disturbances are in the summer term: a number of exams are physically disrupted because the Students' Union doesn't think they should be held. The 'severest disciplinary measures' are instituted. Violence and damage to University property results in the police being brought in and several arrests are made
  • Sussex now has seven Fellows of the Royal Society in MOLS
  • Sussex is second only to Oxford in its ability to attract research grants and contracts, and is first in Education, Physical Sciences and Social Studies
  • Charles Hunnisett, Chairman of Hanningtons, gives the University £100,000 to establish a Fellowship in the Centre for Medical Research
  • A tapestry is acquired for the Meeting House. It is 38 feet long, designed by John Piper and executed by the Edinburgh Weavers partly funded by subscription and partly by the Caffyn Trust
  • The University acquires the Kipling Papers in 1977-78 and there is an exhibition from the collection in the Library in February 1979
  • BBC Radio Brighton undertakes a series of lectures by and interviews of member of the University
  • Arts and social studies develop a new Major in Computing and Artificial Intelligence, to be offered from Oct 1981, and a new MA in Renaissance Studies, to be offered from October 1980
  • Admissions levels in the sciences are still problematic, with not enough high-quality students applying. New BScs are offered in Oct 1979: Physics and Philosophy of Science; and Maths and European studies
  • ENGAPPS awaits the report of the Committee of Enquiry into Engineering, a wide-ranging review of engineering in UK and comparison with overseas attitudes towards the profession. UK universities have difficulties preparing the student engineer for the real technological world; UK students tend to specialize less than their counterparts elsewhere in Europe. However, Sussex is ahead of the game by offering a general first year then specialist study for the rest of the degree
  • In the 12 years of the ENGAPPS' existence they have been awarded over £4 million in research grants and over 1000 degrees and 250 higher degrees have been awarded from a faculty of 40
  • One of the most turbulent years in the history of the School of Education because of the move to CNAA thus severing links with Sussex. Decreasing funds for UGC and increasing inflation also makes the outlook gloomy
  • The TV studio is used by a range of people


'The Government's policy is doctrinaire, ill-considered, shortsighted and .... a betrayal of our obligations to those most in need; it could also be destructive of the universities' ability to sustain viable courses for the benefit of our home students ... and could lead to the closure of entire universities'

'It is clear that the availability of cheap colour equipment is generating demand for television.'

Student numbers

Arts and social studies

2,597 students: 2,232 undergraduates, 365 postgraduates (an increase of five)

Undergraduate intake of 819


424 postgraduates

Undergraduate intake of 459, the largest since 1973


3,000 students on open courses, 750 students on Saturday and weekend residential courses

Gender ratio

ENGAPPS is 95 per cent men, five per cent women