“I remember thinking this is ironic, you are being shot at by someone in your own university,” said Carter of the violence on January 28.
As part of the crowd of protesters, Carter fought off security forces, throwing rocks and pushing riot police back down Qasr Al Eini and Sheikh Rehan St. After a ten-minute retreat, the CSF appeared on the roof of the building which houses the president’s office in the Main Campus.
“I saw around 12 of them on the roof. The police were on top and they were using the same weapons they had been using out on the street, rubber bullets, tear gas canisters. They were definitely police,” he said.
On the other side of AUC’s walls, Fady Mohammed, an AUC telecommunications officer, was standing outside Hill House along with AUC security guards, armed with a makeshift weapon.
“Security informed us that people had broken into the campus, but we didn’t know whether they were protesters, thugs or police,” said Mohammed, who had been working a weekend shift at the Tahrir campus when the violence erupted.
Mohammed described seeing injured youth desperately climbing over AUC’s fence, seeking refuge.
“They were trapped between police on both sides, and the only way they could escape was to jump the fence to AUC’s main campus. [CSF] were on the roof of AUC press, they chased the protesters inside the campus and up the stairs,” he said.
Mohammed believes that CSF forces only entered campus in pursuit of protesters, and their break-in did not seem premeditated.
“If police had wanted to use the campus earlier, they would have, but it wasn’t planned,” said Mohammed.
Nevertheless, he expressed his outrage at the misuse of the grounds he has worked on for the past six years.
“A university campus is sacred, and police abused it when they used it to fire against protesters.”
Mohammed said that President Lisa Anderson came to inspect the old campus the following Monday, and he personally informed her of what had taken place on the night of January 28.
More than a month later administration released a statement addressing the use of its campus by central security forces to fire on protesters.
“This action was completely unauthorized. The American University in Cairo has its own security staff and does not use armed police or state security on campus. The presence of any such personnel on our Tahrir Square campus, which was closed at the time, was illegal and counter to all University policies and procedures,” read the statement.
The statement came two days after a March 4 article in Al Masry Al Youm said that a revolution fact-finding committee believes that police were in fact on AUC’s rooftops during the clashes.
The misuse of AUC’s campus caused over EGP 150,000 worth of damage, as well as injury to at least one student.
“The administration issued a statement a month later [and refrained from] telling us what happened, the university’s reputation has been tarnished. They deceived us, I know for a fact that Lisa Anderson had information about what happened at the beginning of February and did not communicate it to the AUC community,” said Youssef El Korma, a student senator, who says the university’s response was much delayed.
In an interview with The Caravan on February 28, Anderson said the university is carrying out its own investigation into the events, and may consider seeking financial compensation from the Ministry of Interior in the future.
Anderson added that, “it is just heartbreaking to think about what the university stands for and that this would have happened there. That’s why I think its important to document it, as much as whatever we would get from the ministry or anyone else.”
But some students remain dissatisfied with how the university handled the situation.
“The university started to comment about this when they realized students were aware of it,” says Omar Kandil, a political science senior. Kandil said he found the university’s response slow and unsatisfying.
“Administration needs to take legal action against the Ministry of Interior. If they do nothing, they prove that they are not against it, because they let it happen,” he said.
Several different groups are taking action, demanding more transparency from the administration regarding any existing ties between AUC and state security.
“We want to know the ties between the AUC and [State Security] and we need to clear our name, and even as students,” said El Korma, who added that students were considering protesting, striking, or filing a case with the Student Judicial Board against university administrators.
“But it’s more important to get answers and an apology, both to the AUC community and Egyptians,” he said.