CAIRO: Students are staging a ‘day of anger’ today in protest of violations of students’ rights.
The protest, scheduled to begin at midday on the Cairo University campus, is organized by student movement Haqqy (My Right).
In a statement Haqqy lists the four demands students will raise during the protest.
In addition to calling for “a progressive education system in sync with the modern age, students are demanding free education and the lifting of fees related to books, libraries and campus life.
Students are also calling for the removal of Interior Ministry security bodies from university campuses and say that university administrations must be responsible for security matters within universities.
Both students and teaching staff in Egypt’s public universities say that security bodies, acting in collusion with university administrations, constantly interfere in all areas of student life, including academic affairs and student union elections.
Khaled Adel, an engineering student at Helwan University told Daily News Egypt that he and four other students, all members of the Socialist group Moqawma (Resistance) are currently facing the prospect of suspension for one term following their participation in a pro-Gaza demonstration in January.
He says that they have been falsely accused of damaging and setting fire to university property.
In November 2008, two Helwan University students filed a legal complaint against police officers based on campus who they allege physically assaulted them as they were trying to enter the faculty of engineering.
Meanwhile, Ikhwan Online, the Muslim Brotherhood website, recently reported that students belonging to the group have been threatened with disciplinary measures after they launched an awareness campaign under the banner “Let’s Rebuild Gaza .
According to the report, the students organized an exhibition of cartoon drawings in three locations on campus. Staff from the university president’s office allegedly ripped up photographs displayed as part of this exhibit.
Rashad Abdel Latif, Helwan University’s deputy president, had allegedly told the students that they were referred to a disciplinary panel, adding, “We were wrong to allow you to do whatever you want in the university; don’t be upset when you get suspended from the university again.
Last November, an administrative court ruled that the presence of Interior Ministry security bodies on the Cairo University campus is unconstitutional.
The verdict was overturned by the Supreme Administrative Court in February 2009.
Students are also demanding that legislation regulating university life be annulled and replaced with a law which “gives students freedom.
The executive bylaw currently in application is heavily criticized by students who say that it restricts their freedoms.
On Feb. 15, 2009 the Mansoura Administrative Court ruled in favor of a student from Mansoura University who challenged the constitutionality of the bylaw.
The case will now go before the Supreme Constitutional Court.