The University of Paris III, better known as Vincennes because of its location in a former royal hunting forest at the eastern end of the city, will close its doors this fall. The only open-admissions university in Paris, it was conceived in the wake of the 1968 Paris street riots and designed mainly to instruct workers holding full-time jobs in Paris.
Pierre Merlin, president of Vincennes, resigned after being held captive for 13 hours in his office by a band of ultraleftists. The former president was the school's staunchest ally and defender, and his imprisonment and resignation proved to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. It signaled to education authorities, some of whom had had reservations about the institution from its inception, to limit the project significantly.
The Paris campus will be transferred to a distant Paris suburb with facilities for not more than 6,000 students. Original enrollment went from an 8 ,000 to over 30,000 in the school's 10-year life. Supporters of the school say that its closing leaves a gap in the French educational system, sharply narrowing university opportunities for the working classes.