A Kingston University academic has been suspended after 'trying to rally' students against plans to close her department.

Sources said today Dr Sarah Sayce, head of the School of Planning and Surveying, had been suspended after emailing students telling them the university had opened a consultation on the plans.

A Kingston University spokeswoman said: “The university is unable to comment on the employment status of individual members of staff.”

One student described Dr Sayce as “an extremely competent and informed academic”, and said she had written to “encourage us to fight for the decision and to save our school.”

Under the proposals 14 teaching jobs could be lost and 18 students could lose their places, after the university said planning courses could be closed due to poor recruitment figures.

Vice-chancellor Prof Julius Weinberg said on Friday: “The university will do everything it can to ensure these students can complete their studies, either on a similar alternative course at Kingston or at another university.”

Fresher Rachel Stanislaus, 18, a planning student, said last week she was shocked by the news.

She said: “What they have said is they will try and help us to find new places.

“It is not something you expect when you sign up to do a degree. You make life changes.”

Students on other courses would move to different areas of the university under the plans, subject to a 30-day consultation.

Could you be affected by the plans? Email the newsdesk on jon.sharman@london.newsquest.co.uk.