Letter: Closure still a proposal

Diana Jones is right to highlight the threat to the short courses run by the Centre for Community Engagement (formerly, Continuing Education) at the University of Sussex (Gazette Letters January 18).

I’m writing now in a personal capacity, having spent my working life on the University’s faculty, and subsequently having taught CCE courses: I know how much they are valued.

However, the University hasn’t yet ‘decided to close’ the centre, as she says, or stop its short courses - as far as I understand, it’s still a proposal. So a vigorous community response could perhaps swing the balance!

To sign an online petition is all very well if it makes you feel good, but I bet a personal letter to the Registrar, Vice-Chancellor or the Director of CCE would be worth a hundred such signatures. Bear in mind, though, that the financial problem has to be faced: running these courses, we are told, costs around £650,000 p.a., while they bring in around £300,000 in fees.

The Government offers no financial support. Could fees realistically be raised? or could the University authorities be persuaded that a relatively small loss is a fair price to pay for much community goodwill?

Robin Milner-Gulland

(Emeritus Professor)