University of Kent students end sit-in

Students occupying a building at the University of Kent have ended their four-week sit-in protest over education cuts and rises in tuition fees.

The group began its occupation of the Senate building at the Canterbury campus on 8 December.

Other university protests ended last month but the Kent protest continued over Christmas and New Year.

The six students left the building peacefully at 1400 GMT, vowing to continue their campaign.

One of the occupiers, 20-year-old philosophy student Ben Stevenson, said: "After four weeks we feel we have exhausted this type of protest for the time being.

"But it's not over, it's simply the end of the beginning and we will continue pursuing our campaign."

Court hearing

The students had spent much of Christmas without heating and living on food parcels passed to them via the security officers in the building.

They want the university and its vice-chancellor Julia Goodfellow to condemn the government's plans publicly.

They are also demanding that she retract herself as signatory of a letter, published in the Daily Telegraph on 8 December, which opposed cuts but also supported government plans for university funding.

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

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

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