Photo Caption: Hundreds of student demonstrate against the suspension of 5 student protesters.

Sussex University Bans 5 Students For Peacefully Protesting The Privatization of Education

Five students have been suspended from Sussex University and banned from going on to campus. The decision has sparked an online petition, reaching 3,216 signatories at the time of writing, criticism from MPs on Twitter, and a planned protest at 1pm on Thursday afternoon.

In a letter sent to suspended student Michael Segalov, the vice-chancellor, Michael Farthing explains that “reports have been brought to my attention that connect [these students] with the recent occupation of the third floor of Bramber House”. He says these actions involved “disruptive and intimidating behaviour” on 3 December.

The suspended students, now being labelled the Farthing Five on Twitter, include Adriano Marotta, who is chair of the postgraduate association, Hichem Maafi, ethical and environmental officer, Lewis Nielsen and Michael Segalov.

The suspension, which was sent by email on Wednesday evening, has caused outrage among students. On Facebook, 500+ people have said they will attend a protest on Thursday afternoon on a Facebook group.


Today I graduated from the University of Sussex with a First Class degree in Art History. What a day it was! I’ve had an amazing three years studying at Sussex (message me if you’d like to know more!) and I cannot wait for my MA course to start there in September. Now for some serious relaxation (translation: now for some serious blogwork!)
Professor Michael Farthing, Vice Chancellor of Sussex University: To immediately retract the suspension of five Sussex students which began on the 4th December

The University of Sussex Students’ Union firmly believes in the right of students to protest against practises they deem unjust, and condemns the intimidation of students undertaking protest action by University management. We do not believe he has grounds to suspend or exclude these students, and we call on the VC not to criminalise protest.

5 students at sussex university have had their studies suspended and have been banned from campus because they took part in a legal and peaceful protest for fair pay in higher education and against privatisation of university services. This is a petition to have their suspensions retracted please would you sign + signal boost it!!

Students at Sussex University in the UK have occupied their university in a stance against education privatization demanding a “complete halting of the ongoing bidding process, an end to the entire privatization program, an end to the intimidation that senior and middle management have used to deter students and workers for airing and acting on their concerns and a commission of students, staff and lecturers to be formed” to “re-evaluate procedures and channels for holding management accountable”.

Today the students received the support of more than 100 academics & activists, including activist Tariq Ali, green party leader Caroline Lucas & director Peter Capaldi. 

The students have occupied the university since February 7. 

The Guardians take on Sussex halls...

Have you just arrived at Sussex University?

As freshers unlock the doors to their rooms in halls, a mini class system will reveal itself.

Freshers enjoy the villagey atmosphere of Brighthelm halls this week. Photograph: Sophie Wolfson for the Guardian

Welcome to Sussex campus. You’ll see it’s like a verdant industrial estate: brutalist architecture and conspicuous piping amid the natural beauty of the South Downs. Yes, it’s a strange place.

Outsiders seem to think it’s a hub for the young bobo (bohemian and bourgeois) community, fuelled by acid and champagne socialism. But the socio-economic diversity at Sussex is greater than stereotypes suggest.

A quick tour of its campus accommodation will reveal a housing market in miniature, marked with the same divisions as the big bad capitalist world beyond.

First stop, East Slope: the so-called ghetto of campus at £81pw. Space is cramped and mushrooms have allegedly grown in the showers.

Residents aren’t necessarily paupers, though: ex-private school student Alex Donaghy chose East Slope for its sense of community. “My sister lived there when she was at Sussex and she said it was the most sociable place to be.”

Did Alex feel as though he was slipping down the hierarchy of social stratification? “No, I wouldn’t say so: I wasn’t brought up with those kinds of values.”

Moving up the property ladder, we find Brighthelm (£116pw), the cosy suburbia populated almost entirely by gap-year students. They are not paying for flats or halls, but fully-fledged houses, uniquely equipped with washing machines and tumble driers so that residents can do laundry in the comfort of their own homes.

A haven next to East Slope (whose proximity is nonetheless rumoured to drag property prices down), the loudest noise here is the hiss of the kettle, as housemates prepare to discuss their respective trips to South America over a steaming cup of Earl Grey.

Stanmer Court (£125pw) is the multicultural satellite town of Sussex, dominated by international students and situated outside of the campus proper. Residents may enjoy state-of-the-art facilities, but they must commute inward to feel the warmth of assimilation. Sadly, however, when the working day is done, they return home to their gated estate, isolated, their body clocks chiming with the timetable of the nearby train station. Pathos, thou art Stanmer Court.

Among the most expensive accommodation on campus is the elegantly named Swanborough (£131pw), swarming with soon-to-be yuppies enjoying their electronic keys and towel heaters. The living room is adorned with huge bay windows that overlook one of the busiest streets on campus, so that residents can look out with a feudalist sense of self-worth.

An American studies student, who will remain nameless, felt the sting of relative deprivation in his first year when he noticed the superior quality of Swanborough’s appliances: “I tried to steal a toaster through the ground floor windows and got caught by the ever-watchful campus guards. They put my info on file, so I am now a registered toaster-stealer.”

Of course, in reality, the divisions are not as rigid as my paragraphs suggest – campus is a melting pot of sociability. Lower-middle class, upper-middle class: we’re all friends here. That said, if you’re applying to Sussex in hope of a commune, reconsider: things have changed since the ‘60s.

• Students: should you opt for the cheapest accommodation at your university or go for the luxury option?


These are just a couple of crappy iPhone shots from the photo assignment I’ve just done in the Sussex University Meeting House, and I’ll share some of my “proper” homework photos later, but I love this place so hard that I just had to show you. It’s a multi-denominational place of worship: Roman Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Quakers, Protestants and many more hold services and groups here (the Quakers have a tea and cake session after their silent prayer, I love those dudes). Its doors are always open, to anyone and everyone. It sits in the middle of the campus, not one single sign outside it to exhort us to REPENT or PRAISE, just quiet and welcoming and serene and open. It has a kitchen in the basement that anyone can use (more cake!). It is one of my favourite buildings in the world, a huge brick and concrete ‘drum’ studded with thousands of recycled glass panels in jewel-like colours, an indescribably-shaped asymmetrical verdigris roof with a stunning glass panel and holy cow it’s spectacular when the sun shines as it’s doing today.

I am an atheist but have always loved places of worship: as quiet, beautiful, safe harbours (which they often are), as places of history and art (which they usually are). I had the whole place to myself this afternoon. I walked around and made photographs and sighed at the beauty of the colours and lay on my back on the floor and sang quietly to myself (the acoustics, guys) contemplated the gorgeous skylight and the pools of scarlet and gold and cyan on the brick floor and felt so happy and peaceful that I swear I almost found me a god to believe in. Almost.

Got 3A's in my a-levels!!!!

I’m pretty happy, I got into my first choice university and it’s a solid, good result. Also got full marks, which is A*, in my extended project although would have liked to have got an A* in a full a-level but we move on. Overall I’m happy if I ignore my weirdly low final module in history. Basically it could have gone a lot worse - so bring on Sussex in September!!!

Hi! First off, great blog! I saw that you said you go to Sussex. I’m from the us and am thinking of studying abroad there this winter. I was wondering if there were any important things as a student you feel I should know about the school, students, campus, surrounding area, etc. ? thanks! xx

(I’ll publish this in case anyone else cares)

firstly I study english so my experience is  mostly limited to that school but I have had nothing but good experiences - the lectures are still lectures and can be really dull but there are some fantastic lecturers too. I’ve had some classes in the physics/astronomy department and the anthropology department and they were both REALLY great. (in sussex you do one class that isn’t related to your degree subject, I don’t think that’s the norm in the UK but I  think it might be in the US? idk) generally the classes are assessed by exams or essays or a combination but I’ve seen a few classes (generally sociology-based I believe) assessed by debate participation.

the students I’ve met have all been really great too, there are loads of weird societies and there’s a list of them all here ! I had a weird year last year in that I was quite ill for a lot of it so didn’t really engage with social stuff as much as I should have, but I still made good friends so it’s not like one of those places where you have to really throw yourself out there in order to be noticed at all. there’s lots of hipsters (like… a lot) but they are all fairly harmless lol. i think there is a higher than average percentage of overseas students - one of my best friends from there is serbian - so i don’t think you’d be hard pressed to find other americans if you wanted to, either

the campus is ok - fairly bog standard in terms of architecture imo although I believe it’s won awards for some of its buildings but there is a lot of green and it’s surrounded by hills and countryside which I LOVE. also brighton is such a great city, I feel really really at home there and there are some amazing independent retailers in a part of it but there’s also a mall-type place with all the chain stores as well so you’re not limited to weird organic shit or vegan shoes or anything. 

there’s a doctor’s surgery on campus, a counselling service, a disability service. I wrote a long piece about my experiences with mental health at university (obviously specifically sussex) if that interests you at all here

in short i would really recommend this uni - it wasn’t the highest ranked that i could have got into (typical A level offer is AAA-AAB and I had A*AA but most of my classmates had similar scores tbh) but it’s nice, country-ish but close enough to the city for it not to be totally in the middle of nowhere (looking at you keele), very liberal politically active student body, generally very nice students, fantastic library/teaching/whatever

yea it’s lovely honestly :)