Communique # 5: Demo Scheduled for Monday 11th April. 1 PM, in front of HUSS/Admin Bldg.

We, Tahrir AUC, want AUC to respect its students and behave towards them with full transparency. AUC has to end its historic alliance with the outgoing regime and its security apparatus.

We seek to challenge and undo the corporate-security complex that has governed our lives as students and which poses a serious risk to the substance and integrity of our education and development. We believe that it is time for all AUC students to recognize their role in society and to stop thinking of the university and its administration as separate from the state of Egypt.

We want the wider student body to join us in carrying the revolution forward, and this begins by addressing those poisonous structures that have policed and repressed student activity at AUC, a function that was sanctioned by the illegitimate regime the Egyptian people continue to fight.

General Ashraf Kamal and Dr. Mohammed Dabbour are both significant arms of the former regime. Kamal, a former general of the State Security apparatus of Egypt and Dabbour an NDP member. Both of these men hold positions that give them great control over student activity, and the students and the AUC community at large should not be subject to their decisions, when they are so influenced by their ties.

There are countless personal testimonies of both current students and alumni that highlight the repressive and unethical behavior of Ashraf Kamal and Mohammed Dabbour, and their respective ties to Mubarak’s regime. The behavior of these figures is of only complementary significance: their concrete relationships to the outgoing regime are enough reason to say they have outstayed their (unelected) welcome.

There is no question regarding each man’s links with the regime. They have both confirmed this in AUC student publications. These ties should be enough to have Genereal Kamal removed from head of Security and Dr. Dabbour from the OSD. That they should be officially questioned for their behavior where it has affected students directly falls to the concerned parties to take up with the administration: but their continued presence in key positions is simply not a matter of debate.

We have created petitions online to raise awareness and mobilize other students, and we are calling for a protest on Monday 11th April to amplify these demands. We demand that the AUC administration either remove Ashraf Kamal and Mohammed Dabbour from their positions, or that they resign of their own accord.

President Anderson’s email regarding the “Grievance Committee” is a body that cannot be blindly trusted. This act to address certain “issues” on campus is something that Anderson talked about at the Security Forum, and is only just coming to light. We are not convinced of the level of commitment that the AUC administration has towards removing any person(s) on campus who have limited the voices of the students. There is also great concern over the lack of transparency coming from the administration regarding the stolen artifacts that were kept on the Downtown Campus, the State Security shooters that were on the Downtown Campus during the protests, the Freedom of Expression Policy and the ties that AUC has and has had historically with Egyptian State Security and the NDP.

Between complaint committees and “policies” on freedom of expression, the discourse is unacceptable. For the administration to cooperate with a criminal regime and its apparati for decades and then ask us to trust and respect the same structures is absurd: we are going to raise our voices, and if President Lisa Anderson’s administration is indeed serious about being a part of the revolution, she will listen to us and heed our demands for something we shouldn’t even have to “demand”.

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Collecting Testimonies

If you have any personal accounts of events or situations that were prohibited or hindered by either the Security office (General Ashraf Kamal) or the OSD (Dr. Dabbour) please send them to us.  We are trying to compile as many accounts as possible and we will keep you anonymous if you wish.

We have all faced injustices from both of these offices, and the stories need to be publicized.

 

Please contact us through this blog or:

Email: tahrirauc@gmail.com

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tahrir-AUC/209811662367286

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Communique # 4: Ashraf Kamal and Mohammed Dabbour OUT OF AUC.

The historical presence of Egyptian State Security on campus has been widely acknowledged by students, faculty and even the administration. Recent publications attest to this insulting relationship between the university’s security apparatus and that of State Security: Hossam el Hamalawy, AUC alumnus and popular blogger at 3arabawy, has written about his detention and torture by State Security in 2000, when SS officers openly boasted of their relationship to – and influence on – the American University in Cairo.

Furthermore, students on campus have repeatedly been subject to interrogation by security personnel over educational material and the content of lectures. Students have also been questioned regarding the actions and events of different AUC approved organizations/clubs.

The AUC administration has, for all intents and purposes, ignored a widespread demand for transparency, and continues to patronize the community, which has a right to become and remain fully informed of corporate transactions and security liaisons operating at AUC. We recognize efforts at reforming university policy on freedom of speech, and the approval of the Speakers’ Corner, as a place for students to raise their voices, yet the administration does not respond to the questions that are posed by the students. The top-down approach of the administration, coupled with its neglect to publicly and officially reveal the extent of its relationship to State Security, signals the administration’s unwillingness to depart from the old regime.

We are in full solidarity with university students nation-wide, and we support the demands of students at GUC, Cairo U, Ain Shams, and other universities, both public and private, throughout Egypt for freedom of speech and assembly and the purging of their administrations from elements of the outgoing regime, be they NDP members or employees and liaisons of State Security. We join the ongoing Egyptian revolution in its call for a national cleansing, and we do not recognize the end of State Security in its restructuring as National Security. All members and loyalists of the outgoing regime and its security apparatus must be removed at once, and held accountable.

It is with deep solidarity and respect for the ongoing Egyptian revolution, the youth and students, and it is with a firm belief that all students deserve a university education that is free of government surveillance and the policing of activities, that we wholeheartedly demand the following:

1) The removal of General Ashraf Kamal from his position as Head of the Security Office at AUC.

2) The removal of Dr Mohammed Dabbour from his position as director of the Office of Student Development.

Join the movement! Sign the relevant petitions here and here.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Solidarity with GUC

Tahrir AUC fully supports the actions of the German University in Cairo (GUC) students who are currently protesting at their university. We are shocked at the fact that 26 students have been suspended/expelled from GUC for raising their voices in demand of freedom of speech. We stand in solidarity with the students of GUC and offer our full support.  All students should have freedom of speech on their campus.

GUC Rebels Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GUCRebels

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Communique #3

Our struggle is one and the same as that of the Egyptian revolution. We stand in solidarity with other Egyptian university students and those worldwide who are also fighting against the injustice and/or corporatization found within their university walls. We resent the imposed and undemocratic corporatization of our university. That through naming rooms, buildings, and areas on campus are not what we came to this university to see. We are disturbed yet not surprised to see how deep this corporatism runs and the priority that money has here at AUC over any other sector of the university. When President Lisa Anderson said that the reason that students pay for parking is because they “pay for the security”. It appears that not only are we expected to tolerate co-operation between the university and State Security, but rather that we are expected to pay for our personal safety.

We are told that we learn through asking questions, and so we ask for an explanation. Why, if AUC is truly a non-profit institution, are there parts of the campus (such as the Mobinil Tower, the Visa Room, the Americana Food Court and the Pepsi Gate) named after corporations? Why are we not involved in this decision process? How does this affect our tuition each semester? What are the personal links between the donors/board of trustees and the corporations and companies involved with AUC? We are tired of this secrecy.

To the administration we say: we are tired and disenchanted by your continuous use of top-down policy making. Involve us all, students, faculty, staff, workers, everyone who is part of AUC in your decision-making. We strongly reiterate the call of the Egyptian uprising and we reiterate our demands:

1) The immediate removal of all restrictions on political expression and assembly on campus.
2) For AUC administration to come forth with all information regarding contracts, financial audits/statement of the university and internal departments.
3) For AUC administration to come forth with all agreements with the Egyptian government and State Security and to cut all ties with theses forces. And to maintain from this point forth a complete transparency policy regarding the security of the campus.

 

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Communique # 2

It has been brought to our attention, through informal channels, that the administration has “taken steps” to restructure the rules of student conduct regarding freedom of expression and the right to assembly. However, in keeping with tradition, the administration has approached this issue from the top down, appointing very few students to a Task Force, information about which has yet to be made public through an official statement. The administration belatedly made mention of this Task Force at a University Forum on Security, and has otherwise made no official statement that would substantiate and legitimize this project.

We are also disturbed to think that the “political” and “religious” are being defined without input from the AUC community. The current rules regarding students’ freedom of expression can be found in the Student Handbook under the title, “Unauthorized Activities” it reads:

“Students are prohibited from engaging in non-academic religious and political activities, as well as any unauthorized group formation within the university, nor should university facilities be used for those purposes. AUC encourages open study and examination of all intellectual subjects in its academic work. Both its curricula and extracurricular activities are dedicated to helping produce informed and independent minded human beings. However, as a matter of basic policy, AUC carefully refrains from involving itself in political or religious issues, as well as any group formation that may inflict psychological or physical harm on its members or any member of the AUC community. Therefore, the university does not permit its campus or facilities to be used by outsiders or by AUC personnel or students for such involvement “

The fact that this very same administration intends to supervise any kind of transitional restructuring speaks volumes about the kind of infrastructure within which AUC students, including student government bodies, are asked to exist in. The false and imposed separatism that has constituted the identity of AUC students, their respective government bodies, the administration and the University at large is the direct result of efforts to further atomize and segregate Egyptians. The University attempts to naturalize, indeed, neuter its position in the wider public sphere of Egypt. AUC identifies itself as above and beyond all things Egyptian, insists that it is apolitical when its behavior indicates that it is precisely the product of the outgoing regime and its institutions. Separatism, paternalism and zero transparency are at the core of the charade of apoliticism.

It is a shame that the AUC has forced its students to abide by these rules for so long. That these rules should be transformed is beyond doubt. However, it is not for the administration to appoint a Task Force of select individuals to carry this out without a grassroots debate about the terms and meanings implicated in these policies.

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Tahrir AUC: Communique # 1

Public universities opened earlier this week. The students of Cairo University and Helwan University have shown that they are determined to purge their administrations and campuses from official ties to the outgoing Egyptian regime and State Security. As students of AUC, we stand in solidarity with other university students in Egypt and we echo to removal of all those in key administrative positions, as well as the security office, who have ties to the former regime and to the State Security of Egypt.

The multitude of problems that are faced by those at AUC point in one direction, that the AUC community is neither viewed nor treated as equals by the AUC administration. The administration has not displayed the necessary transparency that would create a safe environment of trust and respect throughout the university.

The AUC administration is allowing its community to live in a state of fear, and the fear of one’s personal safety is of grave concern and should not be taken lightly. We must consider the greater long-term risks, of allowing for the administration to continue with its flawed system. We will not allow for fear to run our lives, we will attend our classes, provided that the administration treats us with respect and gives us all of the information of the workings of the university, that we all deserve as members of this AUC community.

Transparency is at the core of each problem that is faced by the AUC community. The administration has kept the rest of the community in the dark, by withholding information about contracts that the university has with outside companies, and by making it near impossible to know the financial activities of the university, and by not providing living wages for many AUC employees. We will no longer accept “confidentiality” as a reason. We will no longer accept “security” as an excuse. We demand to be informed of the university’s business deals and financial decisions, as well as its ties to the regime and its security apparatus.

We reject the interference of campus security – whether with the involvement of State Security or not – in the activities of students on campus. Campus security must not be allowed to intimidate students, faculty and staff by aggressively surveying classrooms, lectures, and other campus activities. There is a fine line between the protection of campus property and the safety of the community, and the surveillance, regulation and censorship of educational activities. Extracurricular activities, approved by the Office of Student Development or otherwise, are an integral part of our education, and must not be subject to the interference of campus security. Nor should the student body live in fear of punishment for political expression and assembly on campus.

We, the students, will no longer refrain from political expression and assembly on campus. To silence our political views is to rob us of our education. AUC’s Mission Statement claims that this institution “upholds the principles of academic freedom and is dedicated to excellence”. By silencing our voices, this “Mission” of AUC cheapens our education. We will voice our opinions in ways that will not physically threaten others or destroy property. We have been forced into silence for too long. No more.

Therefore, we call for the following:

1) The removal of all restrictions on political expression and assembly on campus.

2) For AUC administration to come forth with all information regarding contracts, financial audits/statement of the university and internal departments.

3) For AUC administration to come forth with all agreements with the Egyptian government and State Security and to cut all ties with theses forces. And to maintain from this point forth a complete transparency policy regarding the security of the campus.

Join our movement. Sign the petition here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/tahrirauc/

Contact us at tahrirauc@gmail.com

Or on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tahrir-AUC/209811662367286

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