The Egyptian Student Union (ESU) formed a committee to amend the universities’ governing bylaws issued in 2012.
In a four-session conference held on Sunday and Monday, the Union met to discuss students’ affairs in light of the current political situation.
Mustafa Saad, vice-president of the Cairo University Student Union and ESU member, said each university student union would send its proposed amendments of the bylaws to the committee. The committee would then compile the amendments and put the amended version of the bylaws for a vote within the ESU general assembly. The current bylaws state that at least two-thirds of the assembly must approve the amendments for them to be adopted.
“This is a very large percentage,” Saad said. He claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood students who drafted the 2012 bylaws added this article to complicate the process of amending the bylaws.
The committee is to comprise of five to seven members, Saad stated, none of which belonging to the Brotherhood student movement.
“We have invited Brotherhood students to attend the conference,” Saad claimed. “Although they said they would come, none of them attended the conference.”
Pro-Morsi students organised a press conference at the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in on Sunday in parallel to the General Conference of the ESU to demand recognition of the 8 July Republican Guard clashes.
Ahmed Al-Barqi, vice-president of the ESU and president of Al-Azhar Student Union who attended the Rabaa press conference, denied that he was officially invited to the ESU conference. A Brotherhood affiliate, Al-Barqi stated that for an ESU conference to be held, the ESU executive committee must meet first and put an agenda for the conference, a procedure he claimed was not followed when organising the conference.
“This isn’t a legitimate conference and so none of the decisions reached in it are legitimate,” Al-Barqi said.
Al-Barqi stated that the proposed mechanism to amend the bylaws is illegitimate and that it breaches the current bylaws. He stated that, according to the bylaws, the decision to issue amendments must be first approved by at least two-thirds of the ESU’s general assembly. Only then would a committee would be formed to draft the amendments.
“We all want to amend the bylaws,” Al-Barqi said. “But it must be done within a legal context.”
During the conference, the Union also formed committees to look into other problems students are facing related to university dorms, university security, among other issues.
The conference was attended by representatives of 14 student unions, giving it quorum. The student unions included those at the universities of: Cairo, Ain Shams, Helwan, Port Said, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Banha, Menufiya, Assiut, Suez, Suez Canal, Tanta, Minya, Sohag and Aswan.
The Egyptian Student Union was formed after the January 25th Revolution to unite student unions from universities across Egypt. The union’s previous formation, which drafted the current bylaws, was dominated by a Brotherhood majority last year. Non-Islamist students accused them of independently drafting the bylaws without referring to the students.