Friday, August 29, 2014
The boards of two public universities have now decided to expel any student who insults or defames President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Following a precedent set by the University of Beni Suef, the board of Ain Shams University agreed on Thursday to expel any student who insults Sisi.
Quoted on the privately owned Sada al-Balad news website, vice president of Ain Shams University, Mohamed al-Toukhi, stated: “The university shall refer to a disciplinary hearing any student who insults any symbol of the state, not merely President Sisi.”
"This is not a punitive measure to expel any student at will,” Toukhi claimed.
Students would instead be expelled as soon as the disciplinary board determined their responsibility for “wronging” state officials with insults, he added.
In another statement to privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, Toukhi claimed that such insults against state officials are a violation of university regulations.
On Friday, privately owned Al-Mougaz news website published a critical response to the new university rules, from the head of the student union at Zaqaziq University.
Student union president Mohamed Sherbini commented that expulsion for criticizing Sisi or other state officials “is an injustice against students.”
Sherbini added that he believed students should only be expelled if they actively interrupt the academic year, or are found responsible for destroying university property.
Organized primarily by Islamist-leaning students since the July 3 ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, a host of protests in and around university campuses have resulted in arrests of hundreds of students, along with the deaths and injuries of tens of others during security crackdowns.
The presidents and boards of several public universities have called on the Ministry of Interior to deploy police forces both inside and around campuses to quell opposition student protests.
In statements to state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar Al-Youm on Friday, the Minister of Endowments called on universities, especially the Islamic Al-Azhar University, to remove professors affiliated to or sympathetic with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa commented that “extremists” and “affiliates of the terrorist society” must be purged from universities ahead of the academic year.
Public universities are scheduled to begin their academic year on September 27.
Gomaa added that this should apply to both professors and deans sympathetic to the Brotherhood.
In Al-Masry Al-Youm, Gomaa was quoted as saying that action must be taken against the group known as “Academics Against the Coup” whose names and identities are purportedly known to Al-Azhar University’s board.
*Caricature by Adam Zyglis