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9 student unions at Cairo University criticise security situation on campus

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“Having security on campus will move the clashes inside,” says student leader

Representatives from the student unions of Cairo University in a presser on Tuesday criticised the security situation on campus. (Photo by/ AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah)Representatives of nine student unions at Cairo University organised a press conference Thursday condemning the suggestion made by the Dean’s Council allowing Central Security Forces (CSF) on campus.

The students asserted they were not in favour of security forces on campus, citing the 160 detained students from Cairo University, the majority of whom were “arbitrarily arrested” last February. They claimed that the university administration investigated and expelled students who appeared on university cameras during the clashes.

“The presence of security forces inside Cairo University will only move the clashes on campus,” said Ahmed Khalef, president of the student union at the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University.

Khalaf asserted that the student union is an independent entity that does not support a particular political group, but is a representative of all the students and protects their rights, safety and freedoms.

Student union representative at the Faculty of Medicine Ahmed Mamdouh added that security forces on campus in 2009 were responsible for a number of violations, had limited student activities, interfered with the educational process and recruited student informants.

Vice President of the Faculty of Engineering Student Union Hossam Safwat stated that students who have not been politically engaged are being affected by the clashes inside their lecture halls and on campus. He accused security forces of using birdshot against students on campus when the doors were opened to students fleeing clashes on the street. He also claimed that three students were injured as a result of live ammunition fired by CSF inside their lecture halls on 26 March.

The students also condemned the lack of an emergency plan at the university, as they were nearly asphyxiated at the campus doors during evacuation after three explosions occurred near the university grounds.

The students proposed a number of solutions to improve university security, including contracting with an administrative security company, establishing metal detector gates and creating an emergency plan.

The participating student unions are from the faculties of Engineering, Pharmacy, Medicine, Dentistry, Science, Economics and Political Science, Archaeology, Mass Communication, and Computer Science.

The Minister of Higher Education Wael El-Degwi held an urgent meeting with the Supreme Council of Universities on Tuesday to discuss university security. Until time of print, the meeting has not been yet adjourned, state run Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

Follow AbdelHalim on twitter: @Abdukhalim1


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