East Sussex College has confirmed it will not be closing the library at its Ore Valley site despite consulting on plans to shut it as part of a money-saving operation.
The college group, in a bid to save £60-£70,000, suggested closing the learning resource centre (LRC) at Ore Valley, as well as the sixth form LRC at the college’s Eastbourne site.
The plan, which was proposed by the college group last Friday, went to a consultation which ends on Friday (November 29).
Students and staff were informed of the initial plans on Monday.
However, on Thursday, executive director Dan Shelley said he would not be closing the learning resource centre at Ore Valley.
He said: “The consultation suggested closing the LRC at Ore Valley but this will now be reconfigured to provide appropriate study areas for students at the campus.
“The consultation on staff changes is ongoing, and therefore the college will not be commenting on this in detail. However, we are proposing the retention of Learning Skills Mentors across all campuses to support students in the self-study areas.”
In an email seen by this newspaper, Justin Wynne, the University and College Union (UCU) branch and membership secretary at East Sussex College said the college’s proposal would have affected 188 students over 630 one-to-one meetings and 442 students over 16 hours of in-class workshops.
Mr Wynne said the previous loss of coordinators at Eastbourne and Lewes, which has left both with ‘skeleton staffing’, has been used as a ‘benchmark by which to reduce the Hastings staffing’.
He added: “This current move to reduce the service is blind to the positive impacts libraries have on the learning, assessment and teaching of some of the most vulnerable in society.
“UCU believes this is short-termism at its extreme.
“UCU requests that a second site is maintained at Ore Valley, albeit a reduced one, so that the students on that campus can continue to receive the support which has aided hundreds of students to succeed in their studies at Hastings College.”
The UCU has asked members of the union to sign a petition against the college’s plans. The petition can be found at www.change.org/p/library-stop-closure-of-learning-resource-centre.
Students from the East Sussex College Ore Valley site are planning to walk out of their lessons at 1.30pm in response to planned redundancies for library staff.