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Bulletin - 2 November 2007

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Why the University should oppose football stadium

Just a few comments on the University’s attitude to the football stadium to be built at Falmer [as expressed at www.sussex.ac.uk/falmerstadium].

One answer to a question stands out: how building a new road and opening up the University’s car parks to others is compatible with its avowed aim to discourage car use. The response states that the University isn't ultimately concerned with car use as a whole, only that of Sussex staff and students. This completely annuls any point in the traffic reduction policy: if the cars are still on the road, there is no benefit to congestion or pollution.

No matter how well-stewarded on campus, the very presence of certain Brighton season ticket holders is going to be extremely intimidating and upsetting for very young and extremely vulnerable students.

And 20,000 football fans sharing the same station and bus stop as university students is really unbearable to think about. That the University could remain 'neutral' about that is truly depressing.

Strong University opposition could well have swayed the case against planning permission. Instead we have the prospect of a 'vandal-proof' bridge at Falmer station and CCTV cameras on campus: if there were no increased danger to campus and students, why would either stewards or cameras be necessary?

And this is not to mention the noise from a stadium that, as the club chairman has put it in the student newspaper [badger 8 October], “is built to create a noise … I make no apologies for that”.

This is a true disgrace for which I hope no one in the University hierarchy is anything but ashamed.

Dr Michael Lewis, Philosophy

Time to upgrade “antique facilities”

I was pleased, for the sake of those who teach and learn there, to read of the improvements to the lecture theatres in Arts A [Bulletin 19 October]. I wonder when similar refurbishments will take place in the lecture theatres in Pevensey 1?

Ever since arriving at Sussex, I have been amazed at the antiquated nature of these teaching spaces.

Having taught in a variety of local colleges and schools, to my knowledge Sussex is the only institution still using chalk-boards - they are regarded as mediaeval in most places.

They are dirty - my clothes, and especially my shoes, are covered in dust at the end of a lecture, and I dread to think what is happening in my lungs. I was assured by someone in Health and Safety that calcium sulphate particles have not been shown to cause lung damage - to me this beggars belief, as any foreign particles lodged in the lung must have some effects.

Surely it is time that Sussex moved into at least the late 20th century, and upgraded these antique facilities.

Dr Roger Luther (Mathematics)

Andy Jupp from Estates replies:

The University’s policy is to replace blackboards with whiteboards as teaching rooms around campus are upgraded. (The chalk dust doesn’t just affect human beings; it also damages computers, projectors and other audio-visual technology.)

However, some academic colleagues – notably in the Mathematics department! - have expressed a preference for continuing to use blackboards. As mathematicians teach most of their lectures and seminars in Pevensey 1, this will be the final building where whiteboards replace blackboards.

We are aware that part of what Maths and Physics faculty value is large continuity of space for mathematical expositions, which has traditionally been provided by rolling chalk-boards. We will work with relevant departments to ensure that replacement equipment offers an acceptable alternative to chalk in this regard.




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