The University of Sussex sexual advice service, Unisex, is to be closed down as part of the University’s scheme to save money.
Unisex, which currently costs the University around £40,000 a year, offers a number of services to students, including free contraception, advice on how to deal with problems such as unwanted pregnancy, and Chlamydia testing.
Kate Stickland, who is now the only full-time employee of Unisex, said: “We have nearly 600 students coming through our doors each year, then on top of that we provide e-mail and text advice services, not to mention the thousands of students we contact through our outreach work. The University management clearly doesn’t value what we do.”
Head of Student Support and Experience, Jenni Grundy, and Academic Registrar, Owen Richards, were both keen to explain that the current system is inefficient and doesn’t offer the University value for money. Richards told The Badger that Unisex “ploughed its own furrow” and wasn’t working as part of a plan to centralise all student support into a new Student Life Centre, which aims to save the University somewhere in the region of £20,000.
Neither of the University administrators could explicitly detail how the new organisational structure would incorporate drug, sex, and alcohol education, insisting that those services are very well catered for in Brighton by the NHS. The fact that services offered by Unisex are not just available to students at the University was also cited as a reason to close it down.
The University’s health and wellbeing proposals state that: “We need to focus more clearly on the needs of our own students and work with the Students’ Union.” One student described this sentence as a “shamefaced lie” when compared to its actions.
To celebrate the work they have done over the years, Unisex is encouraging students to take part in a Chlamydia screening process. Each swab or plastic pot will count as a vote of support. They are also inviting people to join their Facebook group to show their support. http://www.facebook.com/#/group.php?gid=196544220670