Administration responds to Sunday's strike events

Monday, September 12th, 2011
Day 2 strikes students protesting outside huss

Students stand outside the HUSS building demanding end to tuition hikes - Photo by: SARA HESHAM

The AUC Administration is in the process of filing cases against students who were involved in yesterday morning’s altercation with security at Gate 4.

Student Union President Ahmed Alaa Fayed told the Caravan he heard from several sources that he and his vice president, Ahmed Ezzat, were among those who have cases filed against them.

“Violence of any type, especially targeted at security staff, will not be tolerated,” wrote Anderson in an email sent out to the AUC community.

“The university’s disciplinary action process has begun against all students implicated in using or threatening to use force against security personnel, blocking access to the campus, vandalizing property or disrupting classes,” she added.

Vice President for Student Affairs Ashraf El Fiqi had earlier told the Caravan that the Administration was considering taking disciplinary actions against what he called violations of AUC policies.

Several students had blocked the entrance to campus from Gate 4 and encouraged others to enter the university without paying parking fees.

“Some students forced their way into the university and had [an altercation] with the security staff. They didn’t want to pay the parking ticket fees so they forced their way in,” El Fiqi said.

He had requested security personnel to report the names of the students that were leading these violations, explaining that “[the Administration] cannot, as an institution, let such things pass.”

El Fiqi also confirmed that Executive Director for Public Safety Mahmoud Zouk had ordered all the university’s gates except Gate 4 closed, insisting that he was in his rights to take any necessary action as the administrator responsible for security.

An hour after Anderson’s email, Fayed responded with his own to the AUC student body.

“Today we stood up for our rights and chose to act in the form of a strike to get the attention of the university’s administration. This movement was brought to life by popular demand and has been in progress in our hearts for a long time and this is when unity comes through diversity,” he told students.

Fayed excused the day’s disruptions on the basis that such a large protest was difficult to control: “A strike this large, with students, (custodial) and security personnel taking part in it, is difficult to control by mere individuals, so some disruption and inconvenience might have affected some students and faculty.” He added that the “peaceful, civilized and legitimate” strike will continue until demands are met.

Meanwhile, several senior administrators expressed their wish to negotiate with the protestors. Anderson informed the Caravan that the Administration will be in consultation to see if there are groups it can hold negotiations with. El Fiqi also expressed hope that the protesters and administrators can find middle ground.

“I hope that [the protestors] will send a delegation or several delegations, one for student demands, one for staff demands, security demands and so on and sit with the senior administration as a group or with individual senior administrators,” El Fiqi said.

Regarding the main student demand of cancelling the nine percent increase in tuition fees, El Fiqi said that it would most likely not be met. He added that details of the budget and financial constraints facing the university have been explained to the Parents’ Association and twice to the Student Union.

“The board of trustees has asked us to lower the deficit, and we cannot as a university keep running on a deficit,” he explained. This decision comes after senior administration had met with the board of trustees during yesterday’s protest.

Although El Fiqi rejects all suggestions to ask Egyptian authorities to intervene, he expressed dismay at how the protests were conducted and added that AUCians should set the example for others in post-revolution Egypt.