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UCU criticises university's decision to move meeting to building by road after learning of nursery kids' protest

17 March 2010

The University of Sussex has moved this afternoon's senate meeting at the last minute to the Chowen lecture theatre in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Children from the University of Sussex's nursery and crèche were due to hand out daffodils and protest leaflets to members of the institution's senate ahead of their 1.30pm meeting originally at Bramber House in the middle of campus.

UCU said it was incredibly disappointed and angry that the university decided to change the venue at the last minute to a building close to a road. The union said the safety of the children was its paramount concern and the protest would now take place inside the medical school foyer at Dr's Orders café, which ensures the children will be indoors and safely off the road.
The youngsters and their parents will be supported by members of UCU who will still protest outside the senate meeting from 1.00pm.
The kids' protest is part of a wide-reaching campaign against cuts to vital services and job losses across the campus involving UCU, students and parents. The union says the proposed closure of the nursery is one standout example of the consequences of the planned cuts. The senate meeting the protestors are targeting will discuss a motion that calls for the university's financial plans to be put on hold.
The senate is responsible for the academic work of the university and the motion says it needs more time to properly assess the impact the proposed changes would have on both the university and the different departments. The children will hand out leaflets asking if the University of Sussex will still be somewhere they would want to come to when they are considering university in 2024.
The union's protests will continue tomorrow when UCU members at the university will be on strike. UCU members at Sussex have given a clear mandate for industrial action. In the ballot result announced on Wednesday 3 March over three-quarters of those who voted (76%) supported strike action and over four-fifths (82%) agreed to action short of a strike. The turnout of 80.9% was a record for the union in a strike ballot.
University of Sussex UCU representative, Paul Cecil, said: 'The children's protest will be a peaceful and positive one aimed at encouraging members of the senate to make the right decision in their meeting. We do not understand why the university decided to move the senate meeting at the last minute from a building in the centre of campus to one near a road.
'The children want to hand out daffodils and leaflets to the senate members. Their safety is our primary concern and we hope they will still be able to make their point and hand out their flowers and leaflets from inside the medical school.'
Last updated: 11 December 2015