CAIRO: In a statement released by the president of the American University in Cairo Monday, President Lisa Anderson clarified that AUC has its own security staff and “does not use armed police or state security on campus.”
The AUC president went on to say that “the presence of any such personnel on our Tahrir Square campus, which was closed at the time, was illegal and counter to all university policies and procedures,” emphasizing that under “no circumstances did AUC invite or agree to the use of force on its campus.”
Anderson issued the statement to condemn the use of the university’s Tahrir premises by Egyptian security forces to reportedly fire on protesters in the square below.
“On Jan. 28 clashes occurred between protestors and police inside campus. As protesters in the hundreds forcefully entered AUC’s old campus in order to fight back state police, damaging campus property,” AUC’s Chief Ashraf Kamal said, “protesters used AUC roof facilities to defend themselves … police also illegally entered the premises in order to shoot at the protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas.”
In her statement, Anderson said that the university administration was provided with grainy video footage which appears to show uniformed individuals in several places shooting firearms.
Vice-President of Financial Affairs Fouad Sayess said that the Tahrir campus was looted. “There were substantial damages inside the campus facilities, equipment was destroyed, computers, laptops, faxes, printers and telephone sets were stolen.”
He added that the losses were estimated at LE 150,000.
Rehab Saad, AUC’s media spokesperson, said that the events that occurred in the downtown campus are currently being investigated.
About the future of AUC’s downtown campus, Anderson said that it is increasingly likely that “we will renovate the Science Building, and look again at the future of the Greek Campus.”
In a note of appreciation, Anderson thanked AUC staff who continue protecting and securing the Tahrir campus throughout.
“I think it was an enormously becoming testament to AUC that many members of staff worked well beyond the call of duty and exhibited this affection for the university. We understand and appreciate that and hope to publicly acknowledge our gratitude in the future,” she said in a statement published on the AUC website.
She also discussed with the Community Forum the introduction of new projects to the old campus, such as the “University on the Square,” a project to document the experiences of the university community members in the revolution the results of which will be published in multiple platforms.
The university also announced Monday the launch of educational initiatives for the Spring 2011 semester that provide the academic community with opportunities to explore the historical events that took place in Egypt in January and February. The initiatives include the creation of new courses focusing on the Egyptian revolution and the adjustment of current courses to address the events.