Some two hundred students at University College London have been occupying the Wilkins Building on campus for the last two weeks in protest against planned funding cuts and fee hikes at Britain’s universities. On Thursday the university demanded that they leave.
In the US, the university’s next step would have been obvious — call in the cops. In California, student occupations are becoming a regular occurrence, and police evictions accompanied by mass arrests are almost inevitable.
But this isn’t the US.
In the UK, you can’t evict students who are peacefully occupying a campus building without a court order, and the university has in this case so far failed to get one. Lawyers for both sides have faced off in court twice in the last week — first on Friday, and then again this morning — without a decision being reached. The judge’s ruling is now expected tomorrow.
A parliamentary vote on the government’s plan for higher education is scheduled to take place on Thursday evening.