Students persist in bid to rename Suzanne Mubarak Hall

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Students and the administration continue to debate whether the glass plaque carrying the name of Su­zanne Mubarak should be removed, and the hall dedicated to the former first lady renamed.

The plaque stands by the H.E. Suzanne Mu­barak Conference Hall in the interior of the HUSS building. Some AUC students such as Omar Omar have petitioned for the removal of the plaque, and have called on administration to becom more trans­parent regarding their financial situation and funds.

Senior members of the administration, includ­ing Vice-President for Student Affairs, Ashraf El-Fiqi, and Senior Advisor to the President Mary Iskander, told The Caravan that AUC has never re­ceived any donations or funds directly from former president Hosni Mubarak’s family. Mubarak’s outer circle or government was more likely to have made these donations.

Vice-President for Finance, Fouad Sayess con­firmed that contributions to the hall were “not made by the family, but by friends and connections.”

During AUC’s inauguration, Chairman of AUC’s Board of Trustees, Boyd Hight, recognized the Mubarak’s government’s role in helping fund the campus’s 260-acre land.

The Mubarak affiliates gave the endowment for the hall to AUC as a “restricted gift,” meaning that donation was given purposely for the naming of the hall after the first lady, unlike an “unrestricted gift,” which would be catered to AUC’s general develop­ment.

The endowment of a restricted fund carries certain obligations. According to Sayess, “if we decided to change the contract or the purpose we agreed upon, the donor has every right to demand a return of their donation because that is the agree­ment.”

If the renaming should take place, there are circumstances that would prevent AUC from dis­closing the identity of certain donors, in accordance with the university’s anonymity protocol.

Associate Vice-President for Development Katherine Precht, explained that AUC puts out a yearly publication listing all the donors who gave $1,000 or more which could be read by anyone. In the 2010 fiscal year, AUC received $17,474,976 from 2,000 donors, according to Precht.

“However if a donor wishes to remain anony­mous we honor his/her request, as it is our respon­sibility to heed their intentions on the purpose of the gift as well as any publicity he/she might or might not wish to receive, so in the publication we list him/her as a donor,” Precht added.

Omar, however, reiterates that “AUC naming a building after [Suzanne Mubarak] was in all honesty, part of a trend of deference to the ruling regime, which is gone, hopefully for good.”

With the freezing of the Mubarak family’s as­sets, Omar feels his request to change the hall’s name is appropriate.

Other students like Omar Kandil, political sci­ence senior, request the removal of “Her Excel­lency” from the plaque.

On the other hand, El Fiqi said, “You cannot judge anyone unless evidence is found.”

“You have to be fair to everyone. Unless Su­zanne Mubarak is proven guilty we should not re­name the place, but if students want to rename it just because she was part of an old regime, then she will remain as part of history whether we like it or not."