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.
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