CAIRO: Overturning a February 2009 administrative court ruling, Cairo’s State Council on Tuesday held that the presence of interior ministry security on Cairo University’s campus is illegal.
The ruling upholds the first instance ruling issued by a lower administrative court in November 2008.
University campuses are currently policed by interior ministry personnel and police officers who have no link to the university in which they work and are not answerable to its administration.
Both students and professors complain of intense and continuous interference by police officers on campus in all aspects of university life, including academic affairs.
The case had been brought by members of the March 9 Movement, a group of Cairo University professors who came together in March 2003 to protest the US invasion of Iraq and who now press for university autonomy and academic freedom.
According to the official MENA news agency, the State Council administrative judiciary emphasized that university independence is a constitutional right.
It also made reference to article 317 of the implementing statute of the Universities Law.
Article 317 provides that each university is responsible for creating its own security units.
The article states that personnel employed in these units must wear identifiable uniforms and insignia and must report to, and receive their orders from the university president directly.
The article limits the duties of this unit to protecting university buildings and forbids its interfering in academic life.
“No restrictions may be placed on university affairs for any reason, since this undermines university independence, reads the university ruling as quoted by MENA.