A petition calling for the resignation of Professor Michael Farthing from his position as Vice-Chancellor has attracted over 300 signatures in its first couple of days.
As of 8pm Monday 26 January, the change.org petition boasts a total of 319 signatories calling on Farthing to resign “immediately”.
The petition was posted online on 24 January by a Sussex student and argues that following the OIA’s recent report that the University mishandled the disciplinary proceedings of five students suspended in December 2013, the current Vice-Chancellor is no longer “fit for purpose”.
The petition states: “From overseeing one of the most outrageous privatisation processes in the country, taking out injunctions at great expense to ban all forms of dissent on campus, to suspending students on multiple occasions in attempts to stop democratic protest activity, and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
“The administration has continually ignored and shown disregard for the law, the campus community, and the value of higher education.”
“The Students’ Union continues to hold a vote of no confidence in the Vice Chancellor. The events of the last year, and the report released by the OIA, are the final straw. The Vice Chancellor must reign immediately.”
Speaking to The Badger, one student who signed the petition said: “Whatever modicum of credibility that Farthing retained for himself has all but vanished with the recent OIA findings. How can the student population have faith in someone who has squandered thousands of pounds in disciplining students who were simply exercising their right to freedom of speech?
“For the good of the University, Farthing must resign from his post as soon as possible. Sussex students deserve better than him”.
Since taking the helm as Vice-Chancellor in 2007, Michael Farthing’s initiative to outsource the University’s estates and catering services to private companies has drawn objections and protests from student groups and campus trade unions.
Last Week, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) released a report on the University’s decision to suspend and discipline five students in December 2013 for their part in the protest against the University’s privatization drive, highlighting a number of failings in their handling of the affair.
The body suggested that the University offer a written apology to the students and offer them all between £2000-£2,500 in compensation.