Mennat Youssef and Baheya Zeitoun
The administration announced concessions to protesters’ demands Monday afternoon, which will affect workers, security guards, and students at the American University in Cairo.
While students were satisfied that the workers have been provided with some of their demands, many believe the administration fell short in accommodating their own set of requests, especially those pertinent to the nine percent tuition increase.
The students’ demands were divided into long-term goals and short-term goals that are to be implemented starting this week.
“All attendance taken during classes in the past weeks was to be cancelled, with attendance starting from Monday Sept. 18,” said Ahmed Ezzat, Student Union Vice President.
The administration did however address students’ desire to be more representative in decision-making bodies on-campus. For example, the number of student representatives in the university senate will become seven instead of two, and a recommendation by President Anderson will be made to the Board of Trustees for one student representative to be part of the board.
Students will also be able to park their cars in the university for five L.E. instead of ten, and negotiations are being made to possibly make it for free.
“Students on buses should not worry. We are reaching an agreement for those taking the buses too, but we would like to announce that the university has agreed to not renewing the contracts of Family Transport,” said Ahmed Alaa, Student Union President.
The prices at on-campus food outlets have also been an issue facing the students, and the contract of food monopoly, Delicious Inc., will not be renewed as well.
Dorm students will also be provided with a supermarket Seoudi instead of Quick24, which has stopped its operations since August 2011.
In the mean time, free shuttle buses are provided for dorm residents who wish to buy their food from Al Rehab nearby.
Other demands regarding the issue of transparency have been met, where students will be able to see detailed disclosures of the university budget and its distribution.
Students will also be able to see the professor evaluations made by students each semester, as well as the budget allocated for all committees related to student life on campus, as well as how the university yearly endowment is spent.
With regard to tuition, the Student Union has negotiated providing a mechanism to ensure that tuition caps will be placed for returning students, with tuition increase being implemented on new students. However, there was no mention of decreasing the current nine percent tuition increase.
“We are also proposing a plan through the Student Union (SU) and Conferences and Clubs Committee (CCC) to redistribute allocation of the university’s budget to ensure that student activities will receive 50% of our activities fees, instead of the current 30%,” said Ahmed Ezzat, Student Union Vice President.
“Currently, 30% of the student activities fees are allocated for student clubs, from which the SU takes about 70% and the rest is divided amongst the student activities by the CCC. An increase in the initial percentage given from the student fees will help student clubs greatly,” said former community service president, Amr Nour.
Ashraf El Fiqi, VP of Student Affairs, explained how tuition caps may be achieved.
“There are mechanisms being discussed. For example, on the first year the student will pay 50,000 L.E.; the next year including the tuition increase percentage they will pay for example 57,000. We know how much we are increasing each year so we will take an average of the total amount of money paid including the increase for the eight semesters a student spends at the university and that is what they will pay in the two middle years. By the end of their last year, the student will find that they have paid less than what they paid in the first year at AUC,” he says.
Ezzat insisted that this is a start and the student movement will continue to make sure that the deadlines and promises by the administration are met.