Fatma el Shenawy
Security guards across campus received phone calls from their supervisors at the end of their day shifts last Wednesday demanding they to go to brigadier Hassan Abu Taleb’s office, only to find out that their fingerprints were needed, according to sources.
A few days prior, a hard disk was stolen from an office in the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) building allegedly by one of the night shift guards. A camera installed by the office occupant helped in the investigation and determined the robber.
After officials confirmed the identity of the person in question, further investigation was left for the police to handle.
Mahmoud Zouk, Executive Director for Public Safety, took the decision to record the fingerprints of all security staff, even though the HR department holds previous records for all AUC employees. Each employee has a form that contains their fingerprints taken before employment and contracts are signed. They also go through background checks by the police to check if the person has a criminal record.
“Upon our arrival to the security office, we were surprised to find out that the type of fingerprint required by the office was one of a different and uncommon type,” said Mahmoud, a security guard who refused to state his last name.
“They wanted us to do a type of fingerprinting in which the fingerprints are taken, but for criminals, not even suspects but we refused to do it,” he added.
A few hours later, the administration decided to take ordinary fingerprints instead, but the security guards still did not accept this, especially since they were told HR department that this fingerprinting form was needed only once.
There have been rumors following this incident that security guards planned to strike in front of the administration building in protest, but one of the security men explained that they have decided against that action.
Rather, they will be dealing with the issue in a different way, to which he sad they have not reached a conclusion at the time being.
“They are probably doing this just to annoy us because of the (recent) strike,” added another security guard who chose to remain anonymous.
Many are calling what happened to be “discrimination” as no other member of the AUC community was asked to do the same thing.
They also believe that this type of fingerprinting, which is done only for those found guilty of crimes, might be used against any of them to prove they have a criminal record.
This would essentially give the administration the right to “fire them,” according to Mahmoud.
Mahmoud also believes that through this act, the administration is calling them “thieves, not literally, but in an indirect way.”
Brigadier Abu Taleb and Executive Director of Safety Mahmoud Zouk were not available for comment due to pressing matters, according to Abu Taleb’s secretary.