University students campaign to save music course

University students and alumni have started a petition to save their music department.

Staff and students were left "shocked" and "devastated" at the decision to close the music programme at Oxford Brookes University.

The petition has collected 2,821 signatures since it started on 17 November.

A spokesperson for the university said the decision was a result of "increasing financial challenges".

The music department at Oxford Brookes was founded in 1979, and boasts well-known alumni including Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood.

But a recent decision was made to remove the course from the university curriculum, with the last music staff member having to leave in 2026.

The petition said the decision "not only impacts the music students but also threatens to diminish a vital part of our university culture".

Jay Hutchinson-May, a current music student at Oxford Brookes, said that so far they have received an "outpouring of support".

He said: "From around the world... [friends of the department] have come and said 'This is what Brookes means to me, this is what the music department has done for me and my career and this is how far I've got with it.'"

Mr Hutchinson-May said that the course was "very flexible" and the department was "a close-knit community" where everyone was "doing what we love".

"We're asking for an extension on this for the lecturers to be able to remodel some of the courses and give some more options for people," he said.

"But we just want time because it's been so fast. There is no big phase out period."

'Difficult decision'

A spokesperson for Oxford Brookes University said it "is experiencing increasing financial challenges due to a range of external factors, such as inflation".

"As a result, the university has taken the difficult decision to reduce staff posts in some specific academic areas, and to make other cost savings across the University," the spokesperson said.

They added that they remained "committed" to ensure the changes "do not interfere with our students continuing and completing successfully their programme of study".

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