Around 200 students at the British University in Egypt (BUE) are continuing a strike that has now entered a third day. The students are calling for the resignation of the university president and the secretary general has voluntarily resigned.
The students are accusing the BUE administration of corruption and have called for the resignation of President Ahmed Hamza and Secretary General Sami El Masri.
According to BUE student union president Omar El Alfy, El Masri delivered a hand-written letter to the students on Sunday informing them of his decision to resign. Vice-President Moustafa Gouda confirmed that El Masri handed in his resignation to the University.
“We are holding a sit-in in front of the President’s office,” El Alfy said. This follows the students’ occupation of the university auditorium on Saturday. He also reported that on Sunday the students prevented Hamza from leaving the university, saying that they would move out of the way if he resigned. Hamza reportedly jumped out of a security room window, ran to a police car, and was driven away.
The students have sent emails to one of the BUE’s British partners, Loughborough University, which confirmed that it is aware of the situation but refused to make any further comment.
On Sunday Hamza issued a decision to close the university for a week. This decision was made to “secure the university and restore stability,” Gouda said.
“I am trying to convince Omar [El Alfy] and the others to give the university a chance. We have already achieved many of their demands, and we will listen to their demands as long as they are legitimate,” Gouda added.
Regarding the calls for Hamza to resign, Gouda asserted that “nobody can force the president to resign. He is appointed by the Prime Minister, however he can resign voluntarily”.
When questioned about the allegations of corruption Gouda responded, “I am personally not aware of this, but if someone has their hand in the cookie jar then their hand will get stuck and if so, I hope that these people are caught”.
El Alfy reported that private security had been hired to guard the gates of the university. Gouda confirmed this and said these men have been told not to interact with the students in any way.
“I am very proud of the students for being able to express themselves more than the generation before them,” Gouda concluded.
BUE students have confronted the university administration in the past. In October 2012 the students undertook another strike when news emerged that some students were not able to attain a dual Egyptian-British degree, which should be standard for all BUE students. The students claimed victory when the university signed off on a compensation package for affected students.