A week which began with student protests at the German University in Cairo (GUC) may see resolution as students meet with administration to discuss demands to establish a viable student union.
During a meeting on March 23 with Aynoor Tatanaki, an applied arts student and a representative for the student body, GUC President Mahmoud Hashem agreed to the forming of a democratically-elected student union.
The GUC administration sent an email to its staff and students explaining the structure of the new student union (GUC SU), as well as a timetable for union elections.
According to the email, the first elected SU president will serve a 6-month period as an exception, in the duration of which students are welcome to “submit proposals to further develop its constitution to the vice-president of student affairs.”
Furthermore, the students are no longer required to pay extra fees if they wish to make up for an exam.
Fifteen students, who had been expelled on March 21, have had their status amended to suspension until their parents sign a paper that says students have the right to express themselves without violating the regulations of the university.
Parents were particularly upset with the tone of the email sent on March 21 to explain the expulsions and suspensions.
GUC student and blogger Mostafa Sheshtawy, said the e-mail was “very disrespectful,” seeing as the administration expects parents to come to the university to give their apologies in order to have their children re-admitted.
An email sent from GUC administration to explain developments on March 22 said that students responsible for the protests are being penalized for hindering “administrative and academic progress.”
“Henceforward, the administration urges all students to abide by the rules and not cause any disturbance to the progression of the academic year.”
There have been reports about messages being sent to teaching assistants and staff members who have been supporting the protests, warning them that their contracts would be terminated “for encouraging student misconduct,” said an engineering teaching assistant at GUC, who requested anonymity in fear of losing his job.
GUC administration has not yet responded to The Caravan’s interview requests.