AUC denies canceling event over controversial speaker

Yasmine Saleh
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The American University in Cairo (AUC) refuted accusations that it postponed a student-organized event because it featured former Ghad party leader Ayman Nour as a keynote speaker.

AUC said that it postponed the Saturday opening ceremony of the Cairo International Model Arab League’s (CIMAL) because of violations of the university’s protocol.

In its statement, AUC said that students issued invitations for a public event without following regulations that govern student activities.

The administration asked that the event be postponed so that organizers can submit the appropriate documentation to the Office of Student Development. The event will be held at a later date and in accordance with university policies, AUC said.

Students and CIMAL members allege that AUC was opposed to Nour being the keynote speaker and, in turn, canceled the ceremony.

In a statement posted on the official CIMAL Facebook group, students said that AUC had “reservations over the selection of Ayman Nour as the keynote speaker.

Sayed Omar, from AUC’s Office of Student Development, told Daily News Egypt that the problem between AUC and CIMAL has nothing to do with Nour but with following proper procedures.

According to Omar, the Office of Student Development has a special committee that includes faculty members, activities’ advisors and representatives from the Student Union and the Student Judiciary Board, all of which have to approve speakers coming to AUC.

“The problem was not that the committee was opposed to the speaker but the problem was that the committee was not informed in advance about who [the speaker would be], Omar explained.

But CIMAL students maintain that it was the choice of speaker that irked administration.

In their online statement on Facebook, they said, “CIMAL is at risk of losing its most prized and unique asset: the lack of censorship.

The statement urged all CIMAL members to unite and take a stand, saying “AUC’s credibility is at stake.

Omar said members from CIMAL came to the Office of Student Development on Sunday to discuss a new date for the conference.

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