Sussex vice-chancellor Michael Farthing to step down

Term in office marred by protests against outsourcing and suspension of the ‘Sussex Five’

September 22, 2015
Michael Farthing, Sussex

The University of Sussex is to start the hunt for a new vice-chancellor after it announced current head Michael Farthing will leave next year.

He will step down at the end of August 2016, according to a university statement.

In the announcement, Christian Brodie, chair of the university’s governing council, said “the vice-chancellor and I have been discussing succession planning for the leadership of the university”.

“We have agreed that we should start the process for finding his successor now. This will create the opportunity for the university to consider the next stages of its development before the end of the current strategic plan,” he said.

In recent years, Professor Farthing has attracted criticism from staff and students, presiding over the outsourcing of hundreds of service staff and the suspension of five students who demonstrated against the changes.

Disciplinary hearings against the ‘Sussex Five’ collapsed in January 2014, and the university was ordered to apologise and offer them compensation by a later investigation by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator in January this year.

However, Sussex’s announcement today highlighted Professor Farthing’s achievements since he took up the position in 2007.

“During Michael’s time as vice-chancellor he has overseen the university’s growth from a £120 million to a £219 million organisation, student numbers have grown from 9,750 to almost 15,000, and we have continued to attract high-quality staff from around the world,” said Mr Brodie in the statement.

“We have invested over £150 million in the development of the campus and have put in place plans to invest a further £200 million over the next three years. Michael has also personally been responsible for driving the refurbishment and opening of the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts.”

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Reader's comments (2)

Is there really any point in reporting the press releases of overpaid university spindoctors? Farthing is no worse than Trainor at KCL Thrift at Warwick, Smith at Exeter, Johnston at Queens Belfast, Thomas at Bristol, Arthur at Leeds, Wathey at Northumbria all of whom have awarded themselves lavis pay rises to reward themselves for successful staff cuts. That their university councils endorse such behaviour is as despicable as Cameron's inévitable knighthoods for thèse butchers.
Farthing, as a Board Member at Kingston, was a disciple of Peter Scott. Need I say more?