Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hundreds of Students at the American University in Cairo Conduct Sit-ins Protesting Astronomical Tuition, Fees & Shoddy Overpriced Services

The American University in Cairo (AUC) is generally regarded as being Egypt’s finest educational institution; the AUC is also the country’s most expense university in terms of tuition and fees – far beyond the reach of average Egyptian workers/employees. The University claims that it is a non-profit institution, yet it charges its students increasingly astronomical sums of money for their educations.

In September 2008 the AUC was relocated from Downtown Cairo’s Tahrir Square to its new location in the isolated area of El Qatamiya – tens of kilometers into the rocky-desert outskirts of Cairo. Moreover, the new campus lacks a number of labs, halls and other facilities – many of which are said to be still under construction. Transportation to and from (the now-isolated) AUC, on the university’s buses, is reportedly an expensive service with few routes. Furthermore, the students at this isolated campus do not have access to food/restaurants beyond that which the university’s food court and its cafés have to offer. The food is practically monopolized by a few overpriced restaurants/cafés found on campus. Numerous AUC students also have grievances regarding new housing and dormitory arrangements.

Student protests, sit-ins, and demonstrations are very few and far between at the (elite /bourgeois) AUC – yet some 500-600 students conducted several sit-ins during the course of this week in which they protested against the University administration’s poor planning and its profit-making schemes. The students publicly grilled the University’s President, David Arnold, with their many questions and grievances.

Bravo (Active) Students,

The following is a message circulated by the dismayed students of the AUC who are struggling to cope with the new University campus:

After the success of the 5th of November sit-in - and by success, I mean the unexpected turn out and the fact that we actually managed to bring the Administration's attention to our demands - President David Arnold has agreed to meet with the students to discuss their demands in an open forum.

This is the time where you can voice any of your concerns about the move to the new campus in a civilized manner.

The basic concerns outlined in the petition signed on Monday include issues on:
- Transportation
- Food
- Housing

However, this forum should not be about individual cases alone. More importantly, it should be about the breach of trust between the student body and the administration that has been building since the start of the academic year.

- The university has been turned into a profit-making institution rather than an academic institution.

- The administration is not aiding or at least not rigorously trying to take action towards providing the students with an environment that will facilitate their learning both in classrooms and extra-curricular activities.

- Concerns, demands, petitions, etc. have been going through a slow bureaucratic process since the beginning of the semester that has not been getting anything fixed.

In all circumstances, we are all part of the AUC community and we should understand that moving to a new campus is never easy and, hence, we need to work together (students, faculty, staff, & administration). However, as long as the administration neglects us, this cannot happen and the problems will continue.

for more information visit:

note: please, invite as many of your AUCian friends as you can & if you have any photos or videos of the 5th of November, please upload them to this event.
Thank you for your support & hope to see you all on November 10th.