Instagram page ‘brightonbanter’ demands ‘compensation or quality education’

The open letter has hundreds of signatures already

The 5000+ follower strong Instagram account “brightonbanter”, a much-loved meme page for Brighton and Sussex, has written an open letter to express their frustration and anger at Sussex University’s approach of blended and online learning.

Normally well known for posting memes about Sussex/Brighton Uni life, brightonbanter are now voicing their anger and asking for “compensation or quality education,” from the university.

On Monday evening, the page expressed their dissatisfaction via Instagram story at the current way the University of Sussex are handling blended learning, with a large proportion of workshops, lectures and seminars being held online. They reached out and asked for one of their followers to write an open letter that their followers could sign and support. This morning (October 14) they released the final draft.

The page is urging students to sign the document, written “on behalf of myself and my fellow students here at the University of Sussex who collectively feel that our experience this year so far has been tarnished by poor management, empty promises and a hefty debt backing up behind us, for an essentially online degree.”

The letter argues that the financial burden placed on students this year is unfair, stating “The Open University offers a degree for a maximum tuition fee of £6192 per year. At Sussex, it is £9250 or £18,000 per year. According to Sussex University, the average living costs on campus are £767 to £1,257 per month and off campus £990 to £1,335 per month. These costs could have been avoided if the university did not make false promises of “opening up the campus.” This could have been avoided if we had been informed of the decision to move teaching online with notice.”

They also describe that “pre-recorded lectures are inadequate and the excuse of being able to watch them at your own discretion is unacceptable… not only are online lectures not as motivational and engaging as live lectures, but they have also been experiencing some practical and technical issues including lagging,  failing to record properly and accessibility issues.”

This letter comes after frustration expressed by many Sussex students that the university still refuses to fully acknowledge that many degrees are being taught completely online, and the so-called “blended learning,” that was suggested at the start of the term is not being delivered. The letter is gathering support, and the page aims to reach 1000 signatures in order to get a response from the university.

They summarise their letter with by six requirements, involving tuition fees, support for international students,  mental health services, essay writing support and online learning.

Brightonbanter told The Sussex Tab “We’ve written the letter in an attempt represent the views of students attending the University of Sussex right now, who we believe just like us are not receiving the quality education we were promised, we are paying so much money (international students especially) for something we are simply not getting!

“We want everyone to speak up and tell the uni how they feel collectively, as we believe that this is the only way the uni will finally listen to us and hopefully take appropriate action.”
They also noted in their comment that “It’s unfair for one person to decide what the best action is and enforce it, the best way was to listen to the actual students which unfortunately the student Union doesn’t seem to be doing too well.”
You can read and sign the full letter here.