50 years

August 1980 - July 1981

Pro-Vice Chancellor Arts and Social Studies Margaret McGowan (the first woman PVC at Sussex)

  • The 'gathering storm' of the past few years has broken. The full cost of a degree must be borne by overseas students, resulting in an eight per cent loss of income for the University. Inflation is rising faster than the funding can compensate for it. The increasing cost of staff is increasing the deficit to more than 21 per cent. Also, the falling number of 18 to 21-year-olds means that the UGC are advising universities to cut their home student numbers, with penalties applied if numbers exceed limits. The Government is impervious to the continuous representations from the sector on the harm being wrought
  • The Group to Review Income and to Plan Expenditure (GRIPE) has now reported and a large contraction is needed in a short space of time. This poses great difficulties for the University as programmes last several years and very few members of faculty leave. Compulsory redundancies seem inevitable even though voluntary redundancy and early retirement is the preferred method
  • The intake of overseas students falls by 25 per cent and the decline is set to continue
  • Student unrest continues with a Library work-in 6-7 May, which was part of a national campaign against Government cuts, some staff are present; an occupation of Physics I on 12 May, putting the switchboard out of action and resulting in the Bailiff being called; a re-occupation of Physics I 13 May, due to Students' Union request for an extra sabbatical position of Vice-President of Education being turned down; and Sussex House is also occupied twice. 18 June a disciplinary committee is convened and 29 cases heard. President of the Union and Vice-President of Finance resign before the disciplinary panel after an EGM votes to attempt to prevent the students from attending the panel. University has had adverse publicity throughout the year as a consequence
  • Library resources are shrinking as demand rises
  • 6-7 May students stage a 'work-in' in the Library to protest against the Government cuts. The Library is open overnight for the first time in its history
  • Sussex is still high in the research tables: third to Oxbridge for proportion of income derived from research grants and contracts (17.5 per cent against a national average of 12.3 per cent]. In the top 10 for individual subjects in seven out of eight groupings, and first in Social Studies
  • BBC TV programme on how Sussex, Reading and Southampton work with industry
  • Geoff Lockwood completes his 20th year of working at the University and is awarded a PhD; the first-ever Registrar to be awarded a PhD by the university he works for
  • In arts and social studies, an MA in Social Anthropology is introduced and one in Linguistics is proposed
  • The Mass Observation Archive and Granada TV begin a nationwide survey of reactions to inflation and is also collecting unpublished newspaper materials on this topic
  • There are worries over declining student numbers in the sciences and declining resource provision, and problems with staffing, especially skilled research officers and post-doctoral research fellows
  • Due to staff changes the School of Molecular Sciences changed to School of Chemistry and Molecular Sciences
  • 'Deliberations of the UGC cast a long shadow over the year' so that The School of Education spent a great part of the year debating the cuts and how to manage them. PG programmes remain buoyant despite the economic gloom with the biggest growth in the science area. High number of students have a job before finishing the PGCE programme
  • 1981 is International Year of the Disabled and events are organised around Kulukundis House to raise awareness of the needs of disabled students at Sussex
  • All areas of Community Services have a difficult year. Conferences drop off due to the economic circumstances and cut-price offerings by polytechnics and other universities. Shops find trading difficult although a new chemist is established
  • Gardner Centre had the most difficult year in its history. Recession bit deeper and the box office suffered accordingly and several productions flopped, resulting in a restricted programme for next year
  • Health Services is moved to Mantell Building as the temporary building used since 1964 is dilapidated. There are worries that the health service might have to be axed due to the cuts
  • Eighteen per cent of last year's graduates are still unemployed by the end of the year

Student numbers


Postgraduate intake decreases by 10 per cent

Overseas student intake decreases by 13 per cent undergraduate and 31 per cent postgraduate


Over 3,000 students on 218 open courses throughout the region, professional development courses, residential courses and Saturday Schools

University of Sussex Association

The University of Sussex Association now has almost 1,000 members

Gender ratio

Two thirds of the student population in CCS and EURO are women, but there is an equal split in ENGAM and more men than women in SOCSCI