An Oxford Brookes student who came from France to study music is “astonished the course is being shut down”.

Haifa Veen, a second-year music student, is fighting to keep the course alive after the university announced the forthcoming closure of both its music and maths courses, along with a reduction of academic staff across several disciplines.

The impassioned musician started a petition to keep the course open – which has almost 4,000 signatures – amid fears the end of the music degree would also spell the end of music culture at the university.

READ MORE: Oxford Brookes students start petition to save music course

The 18-year-old said: “It's a very short-sighted decision by the university to close the music course.

"I didn't have this sort of opportunity in France. I had to come here.

"I don't think the university understands this will have on cultural life at Brookes.

“The course and all the extra-curricular musical activities at the university are linked, and members of staff who work here are part of both.

“Music cannot die here. There is a flute ensemble, the orchestra and a the jazz group. I couldn’t bear to think the university could make a choice that would make all of this disappear.

“I’m especially worried about the music culture.”

Oxford Mail: Haifa Veen launched the petition Haifa Veen launched the petition (Image: Contributed)Ms Veen plays piano for the flute ensemble and is a member of the choir. She was also part of the jazz society.

She added: “Friends of mine who are leaders of musical ensembles at Brookes, and want to continue with them, will not have that opportunity anymore.

“All the societies are going to die out if music stops at Brookes, and I would feel really sad not to be able to return to a place where I felt comfortable making music.”

Ms Veen started studying music at Oxford Brookes when she was 17, and in that time has been involved in a number of university productions.

She said: “The musical theatre society puts on a show every year, and they ask us to make music for them.

“If music at Brookes is shut down, they will have to search elsewhere, and possibly have to start paying.

“I started making music for them last year and had the most amazing experience playing piano for the show.

“We also have a winter concert each year where we choose a charity to raise money for.

“This year it’s SeeSaw Oxford, which supports grieving and vulnerable children. Stopping music at Brookes would leave a gaping hole for the charities we support too.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford Brookes University Oxford Brookes University (Image: Ed Nix)A spokesman for Oxford Brookes University said: “Like many institutions across the sector, the University is experiencing increasing financial challenges due to a range of external factors, such as inflation, flat student fees for UK undergraduates for over a decade, and increases in staff pay and employer pension contributions.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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