Moi University students have been filing out of campus Thursday following a notice to vacate the premises by noon.
The institution was closed indefinitely following a strike by university staff that has paralysed learning.
The university’s senate reached the decision on Wednesday and promptly suspended all academic programmes at its main campus in Eldoret with immediate effect.
“Senate resolved to suspend teaching and learning activities at the main campus due to the industrial action by staff which has affected university operations,” read part of a statement from the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics Research and Extension.
On Thursday, students could be seen filing out of the Eldoret campus, luggage in tow, as they headed home.
Some of the learners who spoke to the Nation lamented that they were forced to travel to their homes in far-away places at short notice.
"We hope the university sorts the issues that led to the closure so we can resume our studies," a student said.
The university's workers and lecturers downed their tools on Monday citing delays in payment of their salaries and failure by the institution to implement the 2017/2021 Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) and consequent salary arrears.
The employees, through their unions Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu)and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA), vowed to continue with their strike until their grievances are heard and demands met.
The staff allege that most of them had been listed on CRBs and cannot borrow loans as they have un-serviced debts due to lack of salaries. They called on the government and the Ministry of Education to intervene.
Local suppliers and transporters who depend on the Kesses-based institution stand to incur heavy losses after the students were sent home.
Some of them are already contemplating scaling down operations to cut on costs.
Traders including meat and vegetable suppliers who have been contracted by the university will no longer make their deliveries after the closure.
“The university has been our main market for a long time and the closure will interrupt business,” said Erick Jackym, a meat supplier.
“Imagine I have been supplying an average of 100 kilos of meat daily to the university canteen but I will not make the delivery for the duration the students will be away,” he added.
Vegetable dealers have also been dealt a blow and now have to look for alternative markets for their produce.
“Now that it is not known when students will report back, we are likely to experience what we underwent last year during Covid-19 when students stayed at home for almost a year...I sell vegetables mainly to students who cook in their rooms,” said Sheila Cherotich, a vendor.