Students at a controversy-hit university in Sussex are calling for their tuition fees to be handed back saying they have been “cheated” by the institution.

University of Brighton students have described the treatment of staff as “beyond sickening” over recent announcements that over 100 staff would be made redundant.

After sharing their support for lecturers striking “indefinitely”, the students called a recent marking boycott the “straw that broke the camel’s back” and demanded a chunk of their money back.

In an open letter to vice chancellor Debra Humphris CBE, students studying humanities and social science courses said: “We find it inconceivable to this day that the university believes the £9,250 annual fee was justified [for first and second-year teaching].

“We are so, so disappointed with the university for providing such little support.

“It is beyond sickening to see this is how the university has treated their staff.

“Calling the University of Brighton an academic institution this year would be a vast over exaggeration.”

As well as complaints regarding remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, students have also expressed concerns about how their employability will be affected by the current marking and assessment boycott.


Lecturers are refusing to mark assessments in a national pay dispute but students have blamed management for “allowing the situation to escalate”.

The students also call the awarding of Debra Humphris a CBE in the King’s Birthday Honours a “kick in the teeth”.

The University has been at the centre of storm of discontent from students in recent months over plans to cut over 100 jobs.

Students have taken to the streets as well as occupying the office of the vice chancellor for over a week in opposition to the job cuts.

The university has previously cited “generationally high” inflation among other financial pressures as the cause of the decision.

A university spokesman said that any graduating students whose grades are delayed by the boycott will be able to attend graduation free of charge including tickets, gown hire and photography. The "overwhelming majority" were expected to graduate as planned, however.

The university added:"We continue to do everything in our power to ensure our students are able to progress and complete their course, and we are aided in this by the majority of our staff who remain committed to supporting our students. 

“The marking and assessment boycott has been deliberately timed by UCU to cause maximum disruption to students during their end-of-year assessments. Understandably, this is of most concern to our final-year students who will soon be taking their next steps in the world of work or further study.

“In the small minority of cases where students are not able to receive their degrees this summer, we have committed to work with them, and with employers and other universities, to make sure their plans for future work or study are not put at risk.”