Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
45 views
45 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
88 views
88 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
77 views
77 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
107 views
107 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
141 views
141 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
108 views
108 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
244 views
244 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
186 views
186 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
199 views
199 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
228 views
228 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
32 views
32 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018
175 Views

Chemistry department investigation

As I approached graduation in the summer of 2007, I was able to reflect on a wonderful and life-changing time at Sussex. Events and experiences, too numerous to mention, that I will never forget. I had made so many friends here and learned such a lot in my chosen field of Chemistry that I felt there was still more to do and I made arrangements to continue as a post graduate research assistant Unfortunately, events since then have irreparably damaged my opinion of this institution and the way my new research group and I have been treated has lead me to believe that, despite recent assurances, the senior management have no interest in maintaining a functional Chemistry department.

For those of you that were not here, three years ago our previous VC tried to have the Chemistry Department closed down. A protest movement spearheaded by students and some key members of faculty was mobilized. We had numerous arguments in our arsenal: Chemistry is a core subject without which no self respecting academic institution should be; The Chemistry Department can generate income for the University; above all, Sussex is a great place to study Chemistry, with high staff-student ratio and a great atmosphere. (At the risk of ‘own trumpet blowing’ in the Guardian league table of 2007, we came first!) The protests gathered momentum as support came in from the student body and scientific community and finally emerged victorious.

‘When it comes to running a scientific research institution, the current incumbents of Sussex House are incompetent’

I began my PhD 18 months ago, working for a new member of faculty appointed under the terms of the reforms that came in the wake of Save Chemistry campaign. I was so glad to get the place and felt hugely optimistic. My first job however was not research but to build a laboratory. The University, it seems had hired a person but made no provision for the space that person was to use. We found ourselves shoved in a subterranean suite of rooms that had no windows ventilation or facilities. The rooms had been vacant for some years before and it was obvious why.

Fortunately, I am quite a practical person and enjoy building things so I set-to constructing the necessary infrastructure we needed. Untrained, I couldn’t do everything and some more serious health and safety issues were left unchecked. Working with chemicals such as mercury, concentrated acids and flammable solvents in an unventilated space where the temperature would exceed 37 degrees is not exactly good practice. For the whole year we laboured on as best we could. Cobbling things together as needed and occasionally managing to squeeze in some actual chemistry. At no time were we contacted or visited by any of the University senior management. Eventually I took the ventilation situation into my own hands and erected some pipe-work. Unfortunately for me, where I had lead pipes from one room to another, I had drilled through four panels that I was later to discover were asbestos.

Then came “the incident”. The official story is that my bad practice caused a fire in a bin and, for the record, yes, that is the long and the short of it, I was the last one in the laboratory, I used the bin. However, the big picture includes the fact that the chemical waste system that I had been provided with consisted of a black bag in the corner of a room kept at dangerously elevated temperatures.

There were subsequent investigations by the university and the fire brigade and it was found that the rooms were unfit for purpose and we were shut down while proper ventilation was installed.

It was during the investigations that I heard, perhaps the most telling remark: The then head of campus health and safety told me that he had no idea that we were a working laboratory. I couldn’t believe it. It was obvious that the University had no interest in us but to find out that their own people didn’t even know we existed was just offensive.

In my time at Sussex I have worked as a residential advisor, a campus guide and given talks to prospective students on admissions days. I was an active and vociferous member of the campaign to save the department in 2006. It will be impossible now for me to finish my PhD in the prescribed 3 three years and to achieve it at all is looking increasingly doubtful. I am trying not to take things too personally but I can not avoid a feeling of utter betrayal by an institution that I once was so proud to be a part of.

As a veteran of the Save Chemistry campaign, it is tempting to believe that I am the victim of some pin-striped conspiracy to bring down the department. I do not believe this. However, this leaves just one other conclusion, that when it comes to running a scientific research institution, the current incumbents of Sussex House are incompetent. The amount of time they have spent on a pointless bureaucratic restructuring exercise and the results of the RAE support this view.

Finally, I can report that we got our ventilation (it’s unheated and blows freezing winter air on our heads – our sauna is now an ice-box and we have to employ electric heaters in an obscenely inefficient attempt to counter it). It seems that if you need something brought to the attention of the senior management,
all you need to do is set fire to your work space.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
45 views
45 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
88 views
88 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
77 views
77 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
107 views
107 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
141 views
141 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
108 views
108 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
244 views
244 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
186 views
186 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
199 views
199 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
228 views
228 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
32 views
32 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
45 views
Arts
45 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
47 views
Film & Theatre
47 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
72 views
Arts
72 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
69 views
Campus News
69 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
105 views
News
105 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
88 views
Arts
88 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
77 views
Interview
77 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
104 views
Lifestyle
104 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
107 views
Lifestyle
107 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
141 views
Arts
141 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
108 views
News
108 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
244 views
Arts
244 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
178 views
Film & Theatre
178 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
186 views
Sports
186 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
199 views
Arts
199 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
228 views
Arts
228 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1288 views1
Campus News
1288 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
32 views
Music
32 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
44 views
Arts
44 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100
Music
88 views
Music
88 views

Kode9 & Burial – Fabriclive 100

Ryan Bridgewater - October 5, 2018

Released 28th September Available on: CD/Vinyl/Download   The anticipation couldn’t have been greater when the final instalment in London nightclub Fabric’s legendary DJ mix series was announced…

News
66 views

Maniac: a madcap adventure into troubled minds

Olek Młyński - October 5, 2018

With the release of Maniac, Netflix once again proves itself as an artistic powerhouse. This mini-series is a whirlwind of creativity containing often confusing, madcap ideas. But,…

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign
Sports
67 views
Sports
67 views

Nike cash in on Kaepernick campaign

James Cohen - October 4, 2018

In 1988 Nike premiered their, now infamous, “Just Do It” campaign, showing 80-year-old Walt Stack jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge. 30 years and a lot of…

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future
Science
103 views
Science
103 views

Machine Learning for an Efficient Future

ecrm20 - October 4, 2018

My project is about how we can explain the predictions made by machine learning algorithms. For example, if we have an algorithm that tells us whether an…

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Due to Close
Music
116 views
Music
116 views

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar Due to Close

Dan Miller - October 4, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35890" align="alignnone" width="4544"] Photo by Lara Antoine[/caption]   The surprising news was released via the venue’s Facebook page on Tuesday afternoon, announcing:    "There are far too many…

Where did you Come from Where did you Escargot?  Martlets Snailway appears in Brighton and Hove
News
98 views
News
98 views

Where did you Come from Where did you Escargot? Martlets Snailway appears in Brighton and Hove

Jessica Hubbard - October 3, 2018

Colourful Snail statues have appeared across Brighton and Hove. The Snails are part of an art trail turned fundraising initiative by Martlets, a hospice and charity. Fifteen of…

In conversation with Novympia at The Glitter Ball
Interview
107 views
Interview
107 views

In conversation with Novympia at The Glitter Ball

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Towards the start of The Glitter Ball, I managed to chat with Nova and Olympia (with interruptions from Charmaine Diamond White) about what drag means to them,…

Interview
59 views

In conversation with Alfie Ordinary and Baby at The Glitter Ball

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

During the course of the night, I managed to sit down with Alfie and Baby to interview them about their start in drag, how LGBTQ+ students should…

In conversation with DragSoc’s committee members at The Glitter Ball
Interview
72 views
Interview
72 views

In conversation with DragSoc’s committee members at The Glitter Ball

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to watch DragSoc’s amazing Glitter Ball and then interview the performers in the packed Activities Office staff room…