Rivalry-plagued college told to stop admissions

Rivalry-plagued college told to stop admissions

Rivalry-plagued college told to stop admissions
Present and former students of Uthenthawai campus gather at the campus in Pathumwan district on Nov 1 last year, to again object to its relocation. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-Ok, Uthenthawai Campus, has been instructed to cease admitting new students and speed up its relocation, in a move to contain violence arising from inter-school rivalry.

The order was issued by Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation Minister Supamas Isarabhakdi.

She said at Government House on Tuesday that the Uthenthawai campus rector had been told not to admit any new students for the 2024 academic year, to pave the way for its intended relocation, away from Pathumwan district.

The relocation would take time, she admitted, but the process must still be hurried up, and this was possible because there were fewer than 1,000 students.

“The issue [violence] is escalating and everyone must cooperate,” the minister said.

The move follows a number of deaths during confrontations between rival student gangs from Uthenthawai campus and nearby Pathumwan Institute of Technology. The two groups have clashed repeatedly over the years.

A first-year student of Uthenthawai Campus died after a shooting in Klong Toey district in November last year and last Friday two students at Pathumwan Institute of Technology were attacked in front of the campus. One of them was killed.

Ms Supamas said police were trying to stop the violence and would be on alert for the anniversary of Uthenthawai campus on Feb 1.

The campus is on 20 rai of land leased from Chulalongkorn University in 1935 for 68 years. The lease expired in 2003. Chula has been negotiating for the return of the land since 1975, with no success.

In 2002, the Treasury Department offered the use of 36 rai of land in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan for the relocation of Uthenthawai campus, and the government allocated 200 million baht in funding for its construction.

Uthenthaiwai campus signed an agreement with Chula University to move out by Sept 30, 2005, and agreed to move to the Bang Phli site in November of the same year. The relocation process stalled and is opposed by students.

Supamas Isarabhakdi, Minister of Higher Education Science Research and Innovation