Solidarity to Egyptian Students

Today I received the following distressing announcement.

“Abuses by state and university authorities against academic freedom are not uncommon in Egyptian universities. Both students and professors suffer them.

Activists among Egyptian students are routinely subjected to various repressive measures aimed at deterring students from participating in any political activity. In fact students are discouraged from organizing any autonomous activity whatsoever.
This year because Egypt is shortly to hold elections, both protest and repression have escalated around the country, and the universities have been no exception. What is exceptional however, is the blatant participation of academics in positions of authority in these measures aimed at intimidating their students.
We are putting before you two specific incidents that we hope you will join us in protesting against:
1- The Faculty of Commerce at Cairo University is barring more than 50 students from sitting the final exam in one subject each. Since grades for the final exam account for more than 60% of the overall grade, this effectively means failing the students.
Barring a student from sitting a final exam as a disciplinary measure is usually reserved for cases of cheating. That a student should be officially notified that he (or she) is barred from an exam for the offense of “hanging a poster on a tree” is simply unheard of.
Another disturbing aspect of this incident is that though it states clearly on the notification that the disciplinary measure was taken by the Dean, Professor Adel Mabruk, on the 23d of January 2010, the letters notifying the students are dated 19 April 2010, thus shortening considerably the time available for an appeal.
Finally the most bizarre aspect of this incident is that listed among the disciplined students, there are six graduates, and one student who actually died last year. This gives credence to the students’ claim that there was no investigation, or hearing, and that Professor Mabruk simply signed a disciplinary action against names from a list of activists that state security police had compiled the previous academic year and hadn’t even bothered to update.
Please help us protect our students by protesting to:
Professor Hossam Kamel
The President of Cairo University
Giza, Egypt
Fax 00202/ 35688884
2- On the 8th of April 2010, Mr. Ahmad Galal, a student in the final year at the School of Medicine of Suez Canal University, was attending a clinical class at the out patient clinic attached to the university hospital, when security personnel walked into the clinic and literally dragged him out and started beating him up in front of patients, staff and other students. The day before, Mr. Galal had been warned by a state security operative to stay away from class because he had earlier been distributing leaflets among his colleagues, he ignored this and as described above was beaten up and forcibly thrown out.
Instead of taking measures to protect the student against this violence, the School of Medicine authorities are covering up for the police.
Professor Khalil A. Khalil, the director of the university hospital, falsified a medical report to back up the claim of the security personnel that the student had assaulted them causing them injury.
Professor Sobhy El-Shishi the vice dean for student affairs tried to defuse student anger at the incident by falsely informing students that Mr. Galal had been caught trying to steal a patient’s hand bag.
We are demanding a full and thorough investigation of the whole incident.
Please back our demand by writing to:
Professor Mohamed Sayed Ahmed Saleh El-Zoghbi.
The President of Suez Canal University
Suez Canal University
Ismailia, Egypt (pc 41522)
Fax: (002064)3205208email: M.elzoghbi@scuegypt and Zoghbi56@yahoo. com

Cairo 9 May 2010

Randa Abou Bakr

Economic historian and numismatic consultant

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