CAIRO: Reacting to the administrative court ruling yesterday which bans the presence of interior ministry state security officers on
Cairo University’s campus, both students and professors were skeptical about the chances that the verdict will be implemented.
“We hope that the state takes this verdict seriously and that it abides by it. The ball is now in its court to prove that it respects court rulings, Dr Amr El-Darrag, a Cairo University professor of engineering, told Daily News Egypt.
The administrative court’s verdict ends the legal battle that began last year when the March 9 Movement filed the case.
The March 9 Movement is 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.
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.
El-Darrag suggested that implementation of the verdict will be difficult.
“Implementation of the verdict is not completely in the hands of Cairo University’s president [Hossam Kamel], El-Darrag said.
“I know Kamel personally and how he thinks and what he believes, but unfortunately this is a higher-level, ministerial decision.
Mansoura University student Mohamed Hamama, who is active in the Haqy (My Right) leftist student movement, welcomed the court verdict but believes that it will never be implemented.
“This is an important step. I consider it a result of the success of students’ and university professors’ campaigning against the presence of interior ministry personnel on university campuses. I wouldn’t have imagined that a verdict such as this would have been possible four or five years ago, Hamama said.
“It’s impossible of course for the verdict to be implemented; this is the nature of the regime, there’s no way it will allow it. State security interferes in everything on campus, appointments of student union leaders and university professors, and it will not relinquish this control, he explained.
Hamama said that students will continue their campaign against interior ministry personnel on campuses.
“There’s nothing we can do immediately because in a few weeks the summer recess will begin, but we will continue the campaign in September.
While the verdict only applies to Cairo University, commentators expressed optimism in November 2008, when the first instance administrative court ruled in favor of March 9 professors, that its effect could extend to other campuses.