At least 150 students in Al-Azhar’s Assiut branch have been diagnosed with food poisoning after eating the food offered in their dormitories, the health ministry spokesperson said on Thursday.
The anti-government student group, Al-Azhar Students Against the Coup, documented the number of poisoned students at 271, and blamed the incident on the university’s “neglect”.
“Only in Al-Azhar University, if you don’t die from a bullet or tear gas, you will die from food poisoning,” the group wrote on their official page, referring to frequent violent clashes between protesting students and security forces.
The Al-Azhar Students Union also suggested university administration had a hand in the food poisoning, calling the incident a “humanitarian and moral catastrophe” in a Thursday statement.
The group added that the university administration is a “criminal” one “where corruption lives”.
The cases were reported from the girls’ dormitories; tens of students have been transferred to hospitals.
According to state-media, the governor ordered an investigation into the food poisoning cases.
There were at least three outbreaks of food poisoning, involving at least 700 students, over the course of 2013. In November of that year, the then-director of student housing of Al-Azhar, the kitchen manager and eight chefs were handed five-year prison sentences over the poisoning cases.
Food poisoning cases have often prompted students to hold protests demanding the dismissal of the head of the university and the heads of the student housing over such cases.