The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) condemned on Thursday Egyptian universities’ “deliberate expansive use of their abusive authority to expel students”.
In a statement released by the group, they called on administrations to “reconsider” their decisions to dismiss hundreds of students.
Expulsion on the basis of political practices and activities has become the one of the top violations that students in Egyptian public, private, and Azharite universities have been exposed to over the past two years, according to the AFTE statement.
Cairo University President Gaber Nassar previously told state-owned media that politically affiliated student groups and activities are banned from the campus.
AFTE stated added that university administrations are thereby “withholding from students their right to education” because these students “were practicing their right to free expression on their campuses”.
Protests under the title “Bring back our students” took place on various university campuses at the beginning of the most recent academic semester in February.
According to a study that AFTE released along with the statement, 470 students have been expelled from public universities, not including Al-Azhar, over the past two years while 81 were suspended for one academic year, and 31 were suspended for two academic years.
In addition, 53 students were suspended for one academic semester, and 173 others were suspended for a month or less.
In Al-Azhar, 425 students were expelled or suspended, which is “more than the total number of students expelled in all other public universities”, and in private universities 44 students were expelled or suspended.
AFTE added that “the rate of expulsion is directly proportional to the strength of the student movement”, as the first academic semester of 2013/2014, when the Students Against the Coup (SAC) movement was formed, saw the permanent expulsion of 226 students.
In the second academic semester of 2013/2014, the number increased to 244 while the first term in 2014/2015 saw the expulsion of 337 students.
According to earlier AFTE reports, over 300 students have been arrested since the start of the academic year on 11 October 2014.
Tens of students have also been tried in military courts over the past two years.
Police conscripts and police vans still surround the main gates of Cairo University, as well as several other public universities. In Cairo University, all entrances to the main campus are equipped with x-ray machines and metal detectors manned by Falcon Security group’s private guards.
At least 15 universities across Egypt have signed contracts with Falcon private security firm to be present on campuses.
According to the university administration, these security measures are necessary to prevent rioting and violence.
Deadly clashes between security forces and student protesters inside security campuses left at least three students killed this year, and at least 16 students killed last year.