Students in Kent university sit-in make Christmas vow

Image caption,
The students are running the occupation from a "war room" at the Senate building in Canterbury

Students occupying a University of Kent building to protest at education cuts and the rise in tuition fees say they are prepared to continue their sit-in over Christmas.

About five students are in the Senate building at the Canterbury campus. They have been there for two weeks.

They say they are taking legal advice after being issued with a court order.

The university, which is shutting for Christmas on Wednesday, said earlier it would seek a possession order.

Some of the students who originally took part in the sit-in have now returned home for the Christmas holidays but those who remained said they would stay put.

Spokesman Alan Bolwell said: "We are prepared to stay over Christmas, we are prepared to stay over New Year's, we are prepared to stay as long as it takes."

The students demanded that the vice-chancellor Julia Goodfellow should publicly condemn, through the university website, the Parliamentary vote for the rise in tuition fees and the proposed cuts in education.

They also demanded that she retract herself as signatory of a letter published in the Daily Telegraph on 8 December.

Image caption,
The Senate building is covered with posters and banners about the student protest

The letter opposed education cuts, but given that they would take place, supported the government's proposals for university funding.

On Tuesday, Ms Goodfellow wrote an open letter in which she again deplored the cuts to higher education funding.

Mr Bolwell said the second letter did not meet the students' demands.

"We came here with some clear tangible reachable objectives and they haven't been met yet," he said.

Deputy vice-chancellor Denise Everitt said the students had made their point and needed to move on.

"We have taken legal advice and we are obtaining a possession order should we need to use it," she said.

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