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Several Hundred Gdansk University Students Boycott Classes

May 23, 1986

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ About 300 Gdansk University students stayed away from classes for a second day Thursday and demanded that some floors in the school be removed because they give off toxic fumes, school officials said.

Students and school officials are negotiating and there will be no attempts to force the students to resume classes, said a university administrator who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

University rectors and deans also discussed the issue at a special meeting Thursday, said the administrator.

Students from the math and physics departments staged a protest rally Tuesday and began staying out of class Wednesday to demand that the flooring be changed. In March, most of the students of the two departments held a one- week strike after the school administration refused to cancel classes.

Protesters have said say the floor material contains cancer-causing substances such as styrene and phosgene and gives off toxic fumes. Students have also said there is a high absentee rate due to illness.

Sanitary inspectors from Warsaw examined the flooring after the initial dispute and university officials said tests show the flooring is not a health hazard.

However, the administrator said the university has begun proceedings to sue the firm which laid the flooring.

At Wroclaw University, 54 students were briefly detained by police Wednesday night and released Thursday after staging a demonstration in support of the outlawed Solidarity free trade union, sources said.

The students - members of an unofficial university club - were greeted with applause by onlookers as they drove through the southwestern city for two hours in a rented bus, carrying Solidarity posters and chanting the names of union leaders, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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