Student Sit-in To End

A sit-in at the University of Kent is due to end after 28 days

A group of students have told Heart they plan to end tomorrow their long-running occupation of a university building in protest at rises in tuition fees.

The students have been staging a sit-in at the Senate building at the University of Kent in Canterbury since December 8 and remained there throughout Christmas and New Year.

University officials were attempting to regain control of the building by seeking a possession order at a hearing at Canterbury County Court on Friday.

But the students agreed to leave the building peacefully at 2pm tomorrow, saying they felt they had done enough to highlight their cause.

One of the occupiers, 20-year-old philosophy student Ben Stevenson, said: ``I suppose we feel as though we have done as much as we can.

``We know that the university would get a possession order because it's their building, but we feel as if we are leaving on our terms.

``We are still very much in dispute with the university and we will be continuing our campaigning once we are out.''

The students want the university and its vice-chancellor Julia Goodfellow to condemn the Government's plans publicly.

Their occupation was a reaction to Prof Goodfellow signing a letter, published in the Daily Telegraph on December 8, endorsing a rise in tuition fees.

Prof Goodfellow has since written an open letter in which she said she deplored cuts to higher education funding, but the students said this did not meet their demands.

The students have written to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, in the hope that as a visitor to the university he would act as mediator but they have so far received no reply.

The occupiers said that the ``savage cuts and substantial rise in fees should not be under-estimated''.

The students alleged that the heating was turned off during the cold weather, that they have been unable to leave the building for fresh air and that their internet connection was cut.

People have been turning up with food donations for them and they have been passing the time watching films and maintaining contact with supporters via Twitter and Facebook using a 3G dongle.

The students intend to issue a letter to universities encouraging students and staff to sign as a counter-measure to the letter signed by Prof Goodfellow and other board members of Universities UK.


Kent University Occupation