Students wary of campus relocation

Students wary of campus relocation

The Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESRI) is setting up a committee to work out a solution to the relocation of the Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-ok's (RMUTTO) Uthenthawai campus from the land it is occupying, which belongs to Chulalongkorn University, said the minister, Supamas Isarabhakdi.

She also said that the committee will consist of representatives of both institutes, as well as those from the Treasury Department's Legal Division and the Budget Bureau.

The panel will tailor a solution that is fair to both sides. It expects to hold its first meeting next week.

Ms Supamas's statement came after hundreds of RMUTTO students and alumni held a protest on Monday to oppose the relocation of the campus, as ordered by the Administrative Court in December last year after its 68-year-old contract to lease the land it is currently occupying from nearby Chulalongkorn University expired in 2003.

She added the RMUTTO students felt they were kept in the dark about where the campus would move to. There have been several proposed relocation sites, and the students need assurances from the authorities over which site can be used permanently to avoid having to vacate again later, according to the minister.

Ms Supamas said enforcing the court's order must not provoke a violent reaction. The relocation will be carried out based on compromise.

She insisted the ministry would adhere to the law while also having the students' interests at heart. The RMUTTO's new campus will be expanded by increasing faculties and student intake.

Ms Supamas said that it might take years for students and faculties to transfer to a new campus.

She cited a similar relocation of the majority of students and faculties at Thammasat University from its Tha Prachan campus to the Rangsit campus in Pathum Thani.

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