A Universities UK spokesperson said: "Ensuring the safety and welfare of their students is a top priority for universities. UK universities have been monitoring the situation in Hong Kong as it unfolds and are in close contact with their students there. Universities UK is in conversation with institutions who have students studying in Hong Kong and there are arrangements in place for the safe return of affected students to the UK where necessary.
"Given recent developments on university campuses in Hong Kong, and the updated FCO advice, many universities are now escalating this action. We are also offering support to staff and students of Hong Kong origin who are planning on travelling home or concerned about the situation there.
"Universities will continue to follow FCO advice and to monitor the situation in country. With the situation in Hong Kong changing daily, individual universities are acting in the best interests of their students."
1. Universities have been closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong for some time, although there has been an increased focus and level of activity this week because of the developing situation and increased incidents on university campuses in Hong Kong. Four universities in Hong Kong have cancelled classes for the rest of the semester. As a result, many universities have been encouraging students to return to the UK and making arrangements for them to do so. Some students will choose to stay in Hong Kong. Depending on the specific campuses affected, other universities may take a more directive approach.
2. Part of this ongoing monitoring process has included visits from UK institutional staff to Hong Kong.
3. We have been contacted by some staff who are in Hong Kong and making themselves available to support any students from UK universities (not just their own) who need advice/support over the coming days. UUK has spoken directly with more than 20 institutions to date and they are taking various approaches depending on how affected the areas where their students are is.
4. We are also coordinating discussions between UK universities enabling them to share advice and approaches.
1. The FCO's latest statement (dated 18 November) on the escalating violence on university campuses can be found here