The Colombo University Arts Faculty was closed indefinitely yesterday due to some undergraduates forcibly occupying the Students` Counsellor`s office in protest against the decision by the Administration to remove them from the De Saram building which they had been occupying forcibly for a few years.
Vice Chancellor Prof. Tilak Hettiarachchi said they had requested police to evacuate these 20 students forcibly if necessary from the Counsellor`s office if they did not leave the university premises by 8.00 p.m. yesterday.
Earlier, the University Administration threatened to deregister the undergraduates unless they leave the building before midnight on Wednesday.
Prof. Hettiarachchi said that after the warning 14 undergraduates out of the 39 who occupied the building had already left to the hostel at 56, Rajakarunanayake Mawatha.
However, he said 20 students had begun to sleep in the Students` Counsellor`s office in protest and that therefore they closed the Arts Faculty to protect the university property from being damaged.
?We have rented the building at Rajakarunanayake Mawatha at a monthly rate of Rs. 50,000. We want to demolish the De Saram building and construct a new hostel to accommodate 240 female undergraduates,? he said.
Asked about the students` demand for a place with adequate security, he said they had provided them with two police personnel in addition to university security officers at the Rajakarunanayake Mawatha building and that therefore the students` arguments were baseless.