A former student union president expelled and a fellow officer suspended from Kingsway College were to appear before the Legal Aid Board yesterday to seek support for a judicial review of their case.
Former president Nick de Marco was expelled a fortnight ago following an earlier suspension for an alleged campaign of intimidation and harassment of staff and students. He was one of the students accused of throwing paint over Conservative Party chairman Brian Mawhinney last November during a protest against the Asylum Bill but the college stresses that this was not the reason for his expulsion.
Mr de Marco and union officials Naveed Malick were also the subject of disciplinary hearings. College spokeswoman Amanda Whelan said there had been a daily campaign by a handful of students since the suspensions which had included death threats against individual members of staff, unauthorised press conferences, building occupations and damage to college property.
The students are accused of bringing the college into disrepute and disrupting the learning environment. Mr de Marco has the sympathy of the local branch of lecturers' union Natfhe but not the National Union of Students which has condemned "unnecessarily confrontational" tactics.
Mr de Marco and Ms Malick have appealed unsuccessfully to the college governors and to the principal. An injunction has subsequently been taken out against them which, according to Ms Whelan, the students defied, prompting the college to add a penal clause which makes them liable to imprisonment if they breach it.