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Sit-in protest defused, says Fudan University

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2006, 12:00am


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Shanghai's prestigious Fudan University claims to have defused a three-day protest which started after the school scrapped an extension programme launched by one of its own departments but which the administration later deemed illegal.

More than 100 students and their parents held sit-ins on campus, between Friday night and until Monday, witnesses said yesterday. At least 30 police officers and 10 police vans were at the main gate throughout the weekend. Students said some protesters had been injured in scuffles with police.

'Those students started having classes from August and the school promised to give them the same treatment as other students. But the university suddenly asked them to stop classes and go home,' a Fudan student said.

Fudan's computer and information technology department had co-operated with the privately owned Fucai School to offer classes to more than 700 students, said local media and the university. But Fudan claimed the number was supposed to be 200 and the courses could only cover computer science and information management, the Shanghai Daily reported.

The co-operative programme started offering a journalism course and the school told students, who were paying yearly tuition of 6,600 yuan, that they would have the same privileges as Fudan students.

'This exceeded the plan by blindly recruiting students ... and seriously violated the Education Ministry's and Fudan University's management regulations,' the university said in a website statement. The school cancelled the programme on Friday, sparking the protests.

However, some students enrolled in the courses disagreed with the university's version of events. 'We paid tuition to Fudan and received a recruitment notice with Fudan's chop. Is it possible that Fudan authorities didn't know what was happening? This is fraud,' one wrote in an internet posting.

To help resolve the situation, the university said it would refund the students' tuition or allow them to continue their studies at Fudan's School of Continuing Education. At least half of the students enrolled had asked for their money back.