Breaking: Unis pull students out of Hong Kong over ‘personal safety’ fears
Nottingham, Edinburgh, and Warwick are all bringing students back
Universities across the UK are pulling students out of Hong Kong as the protests escalate, as fears rise over the "personal safety" of students.
Warwick, Nottingham, Aberdeen, Southampton, Sheffield and Edinburgh have all confirmed to The Tab that they are bringing students back.
Many of Hong Kong's top universities are being occupied by protestors, with state media warning protestors: "You are on the edge of doom"
Warwick has urged students back amid fears over "personal safety", after seeing "first hand feedback and media coverage".
In an email, the university said: "Warwick is now strongly urging you to curtail your period of study or work placement abroad and to return to the UK, or wherever you are usually resident, as soon as you are able."
It tells students to "book and arrange your own flights" and the university will reimburse.
The University of Nottingham, which has 10 students currently in Hong Kong, told The Tab it's offering early repatriation.
Two students have taken up the offer, with two more additionally indicating they will do so.
Edinburgh has emailed to tell students that they "have to prioritise safety and wellbeing", as they suspend all classes for the rest of the semester.
Aberdeen are also putting arrangements in place to bring students home. A spokesperson told The Tab: "We are in close contact with our exchange students. Arrangements are being put into place to bring our exchange students home. The safety of our students is paramount."
Sheffield students on exchange in Hong Kong are being told to return to the UK. One student told The Tab their third semester has been cancelled.
An email to students said: ""Following our conversations with you over the last few days and the continuing uncertainty in Hong Kong, we have assessed the situation and recommend that you leave Hong Kong as soon as possible."
The University of Birmingham told The Tab they are giving students the option to come back from Hong Kong. “The welfare of our students remains our utmost concern and we have been closely monitoring the developing situation in Hong Kong, which has led to many Universities in Hong Kong suspending their operations," a spokesperson said.
"We have today contacted all our students to advise them of their options and offer them the opportunity to return home with the University’s support.”
Meanwhile, the University of Lincoln told The Tab: "We do not have any students being called back from Hong Kong".
St Andrews and Exeter have both told the The Tab they are monitoring the situation, but are not repatriating students in Hong Kong.
A spokesperson from Warwick told The Warwick Tab: "Many Universities in Hong Kong have suspended their operations due to the developing situation there.
"Like several other UK universities we are contacting Warwick students and staff in Hong Kong and offering them the opportunity to return to the UK and are advising them to do so."
A University of Nottingham spokesperson told The Tab: "We have 10 students in Hong Kong who are safe and well. We are in close contact with them to offer every support in the current situation and are following Foreign Office advice. We have offered any student who wishes to leave an early flight back to the UK.
"Students are mostly on undergraduate exchange across a range of programmes. There is one PhD student.
"Our message went out a short time ago but 2 students have definitely taken up the offer, and there are two that have indicated they will. The others so far have indicated that they want to remain in Hong Kong but that might change in the next 24 hours.
"Students will be carried on scheduled flights and arriving back in the UK over the next few days and we have agreed to cover all costs.
"We have been in dialogue for the whole of this term. All students were contacted back on 1 October to reiterate past emails regarding safety and avoiding political demonstrations and to encourage them to contact us if they had any concerns. The recent exchanges began on Tuesday. And advice has been adjusted as we have monitored the situation."
A spokesperson for the University of Southampton told The Tab: We have posted the following announcement on SUSSED today about our students in Hong Kong:
“In light of the closure of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University and Lingnan University, and the ongoing risk posed by action in the region, we are now proactively working to repatriate all of our students currently in Hong Kong on placements, exchange or study abroad programmes.
"We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and will cover the costs of their return to the UK. We will also work with colleagues to ensure that no student suffers academic detriment as a result of this action.”
The Tab understands the move has not been prompted by official Foreign Office advice, but that FCO officials in Hong Kong have been in touch with universities.
Are you a UK student in Hong Kong affected by this story? Email [email protected] to tell us more
We'll update this story with new information as we get it.
More: The Tab's local coverage as UK universities bring students back from Hong Kong
Featured image via: Ben David Godson