On Friday 19 March it was announced that Deputy Vice-Chancellor Paul Layzell is to leave his position at the University of Sussex after accepting his new role of principal at Royal Holloway, which he will begin mid-August. 

According to Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing, Layzell was the “driving force” behind the creation of the strategic plan ‘Making the Future’. This led to the highly-contentious proposed cuts to spending, and staff redundancies, which angered many Sussex students and staff alike. Reaction to Layzell’s plans included the student occupation of Bramber House and Sussex House, both of which attracted attention from across the country. 

Layzell said one is his biggest legacies is playing a role in the regeneration of the Falmer campus and closing the gap between the university and the region. He added: “Sussex is a great place. A lot has happened in terms of engaging with the city and the region. It has moved on a long way in the four years I have been here. It is much more part of the city supporting economic regeneration and working with the schools.”

He recognised the timing of his resignation is difficult but that no one could have foreseen the events over the past few weeks. “It is never a good time to go. I am here until August and that will see the completion of this phase of having to reorganise the university and leave it in good shape.”

University of Sussex Students’ Union (USSU) President Tom Wills said: “It speaks volumes about university management’s commitment to Sussex that one of the principal architects of the cuts proposals – which Layzell claims will secure the future of the university – will not even be here to witness the results. Instead he has chosen to cut and run, leaving for a post where he will likely earn in excess of £200,000 a year. We hope that the next manager to quit Sussex does so under duress, and that their discredited proposals go with them.”

Hearing the news of Layzell’s departure, a spokesperson for the Stop the Cuts campaign said: “We expect this resignation to be the first of several and will not be sorry to see him go.”

Michael Farthing said: “There will be time in the months to come to recognise properly the huge contribution that Paul has made to Sussex. He has played a leading role in helping support and develop the university since his appointment in 2006. He has transformed the way in which the university approaches its strategic planning and delivery, as well as providing excellent leadership to the Library and IT Services.
“The fruits of his labours are already evident for Sussex. He has transformed our approach to academic planning and project management across the entire university; and he has led the creation of the new capital development plan for the campus. Sussex will continue to benefit from his contributions for years to come.”

The University of Sussex has stated it will now be looking at how best to fill the newly vacated position for when Layzell makes his hasty departure.

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University of Sussex Deputy VC Paul Layzell announces resignation

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