This is of little interest to most people, I understand, but it's not merely a whinge about league positions - it concerns the sheer scale of Sussex's apparent plunge, particularly in English, its flagship subject.
I knowingly picked Sussex over Nottingham, a more obviously prestigious university etc., because the course looked a lot more eclectic, a lot less prescriptive and a LOT less dreary. I also liked the sense I got from the open day subject talk - the US/Scottish-style interdisciplinarity, allowing you to take modules in various other things you might be interested in, the focus on seminars over lectures, and the generally unconventional and anti-authoritarian attitude they exhibited. Nottingham were pompous, stuffy and traditionalist in comparison.
What gives me pause is this. The Times - and yes, I know it's a nit-witted Murdoch rag - rate Sussex only just in the top 50 UK unis for English. That's low. Below a number of unis I'd literally never heard of. The Guardian puts it 32nd. As aware as we all are of the silly methodology employed in compiling league tables, they aren't totally meaningless.
So has Sussex lost many of its best teachers? Run out of cash? Stagnated somehow? Fallen to corporate management idiocy? Failed to attract brainy applicants? Or do they just have whiny students who bring their survey scores down?
I'm not a prestige whore. I just wonder what this steady decline in ranking means in reality - if it means much. I suspect it's still a great place to study English, with a more appealing course than any of the establishment unis like Oxford or Bristol, but performance-wise has 'officially' been left in the dust of unis it used to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with (Warwick, York etc.).
Any comment on this, however abusive and psychopathic, would be gratefully received.