Vice chancellor rejects Chichester 'at risk' status

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University graduates
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The University of Chichester has more than 5,000 students and 400 members of staff

The vice chancellor of a West Sussex university has rejected claims the institution is "at risk" from government cuts.

A study claims plans to cut budgets and raise tuition fees could leave some institutions fighting for survival.

But Professor Clive Behagg said the University of Chichester should not be on a list of 23 labelled "high risk".

He said the report by the lecturers' union UCU had done "unnecessary damage" and was politically motivated.

"It is absurd to list the University of Chichester as being 'at risk'," he said.

"I trust that people will not be misled by this report which completely fails to gauge the capacity of a university to thrive in the new framework."

'Crystal-ball gazing'

The UCU report looks at the financial risk to England's 130 universities, assessing how dependent they are on public funding.

Professor Behagg said the report was published in the hope of influencing the vote on raising tuition fees taking place in the House of Commons on Thursday.

He said: "UCU should reflect upon the unnecessary damage it could do to confidence in institutions, that are as successful as they are stable, by its unfounded crystal-ball gazing."

Applications from students had gone up by 40% against a national rise of 12% and its satisfaction scores were among the highest in the modern university sector, he added.

The university, which has campuses in Chichester and Bognor Regis, has more than 5,000 students and 400 members of staff.

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