CAIRO: Cairo University is reportedly recruiting security officers, raising speculation that it plans to replace state security forces on campus with a civil security unit in line with an Administrative Court verdict, according to Al-Shorouk newspaper.
The university recently published an announcement recruiting security specialists and a security supervisor and received thousands of applicants for the job that is supposedly bound by a five-year contract.
Sources said that the university is yet to respond to the applicants, reportedly pending the next court session on March 20.
“The university didn’t implement the verdict yet, the procedures taken by Cairo University is to [stall and] buy themselves some time, Laila Soueif, professor of Mathematics at Cairo University and spokeswoman for the March 9 Movement, told Daily News Egypt.
“The president of Cairo University said that he supports the verdict but they still need the budget, she said.
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.
“My opinion is that the law is clear about this issue, it’s the right of every university to have its independence, this is [universal]; that is if we want our universities to be accredited internationally, Soueif said.
“I expect the university to eventually implement this law, however, I don’t know when, it requires some time and it depends on the amount of pressure we put on the university, she added.
Abdel Gelil Mustafa, professor of Medicine at Cairo University, and one of the professors who filed the lawsuit against the university, explained that the university is aware that establishing a civil security unit is a legitimate and constitutional request, Al-Shorouk reported.
He said he is surprised that the university did not implement the verdict, especially after its president, Hossam Kamel, vowed to remove security offices on campus and allocate a LE 20 million budget to establishing a civil security unit.
Mustafa said that Kamel retracted his decision, questioning the legitimacy of Article 317 of the university’s bylaws that oblige the university to establish a civil security unit.
A June 2009 Administrative Court ruling had again banned the presence of interior ministry state security officers on Cairo University’s campus after a Higher Administrative Court ruling allowed them inside Cairo University, overturning the initial November 2008 ruling by a lower Administrative Court.
The court added that the university’s bylaws stipulate establishing a civil security unit on campus to protect its facilities, receiving its orders from the university’s president. The bylaws also dictate that the security officers wear a uniform displaying the university’s logo.