Security Intervention in Egyptian Universities, More Step towards Establishing Police State
Security Intervention in Egyptian Universities, More Step towards Establishing Police State
Saturday, January 19,2008 12:58
By Nadine Abdullah
Every Egyptian university has a unit which is shouldered with protecting university facilities. This unit is under direct supervision of the University President. However, we got used to notice that our universities are actually under control of the security bodies that handle many files in these universities, including giving the go-ahead to appointing lecturers, approving guest provincial students and organizing student activities. They have intervened even in theses discussions.
Some policemen have reached the limit of even assaulting and beating university students and teaching staff members.
All these violations are met with a complete silence from university administrations which are even backing security in some cases. Several years ago, the Security Department in the Ministry of Higher Education sent a general notice to university faculties and departments to " get an advance security approval " before holding joint researches with foreign partners or inviting foreign professors or starting into academic projects with foreign authorities .
University professors always under security control
Asked about the security bodies" treatment with students, Shurouq Al Shawwaf, the secretary general of the free student union at Helwan University :" Such interventions are expected specially during this period, but that will never prevent students- those belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or other powers- from maintaining their activities and exercising their freedom inside the campus.
Regarding the security intervention in appointing lecturers in the university, she said:" The security approval in appointing lecturers is a blatant intervention. If I am leading my fellow students and sure that I will be appointed lecturer, why shall I wait for a security response that may approve or reject my appointment?, plus other harassments that university professors may face if they trespass limits imposed by the security bodies.
She added that the security intervention in appointing lecturers makes everyone realize that university professors must remain under full control of the government security. Consequently, this will prevent university professors from taking any reaction towards what is happening inside or outside the campus because they are promoted and given their salaries by the university administration which is controlled by the security bodies.
For her part, Dina Abdul Rahman, a student in the faculty of computers and information, saw that the Muslim Brotherhood students should tune down their activities. These students know, according to Dina, that government security bodies are hunting them. So, they should avoid the security"s attempts to harm them.
However, she saw that the security bodies" reaction is exaggerated and that these bodies should never intervene in students" rights to live in the university dorms or in directing fake charges against them.
Security Intervention in Universities In All Levels
Omar Gamal, a Muslim Brotherhood student in the Faculty of Commerce Cairo University, sees that the security intervention in the campus includes all levels. "The security intervenes in appointing lecturers and in choosing in faculty syllabus", he said, citing university professor"s action of editing his book and printing it again after the state security opposed a section that includes insurers" treatment to haphazard presidential decrees.
He added that this professor informed them of the deleted section out of academic honesty and explained it in a lecture.
Omar rejected actions of the various security services in universities, including random summons of students to the state security investigations, specially at the beginning of every academic year, and intervening in student activities in addition to the university guard"s provoking actions of searching every student entering into the campus.
Fully-controlled Security University Administration
Mahmoud Qotb, the Muslim Brotherhood spokesman in Cairo University, said:" What is currently happening against MB students is due to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is the only group that actively moves and calls for rights, embarrassing the regime which reacts with assaulting students sometimes, arresting them at other and even dismissing them. However, this will never prevent us from demanding our rights to have a freedom and exercise activities inside the campus."
He describes what is happening nowadays not only as a security intervention but as a full security university administration. This is due to the fact that it is the security that approves students in university dorms, appoint students in student union elections and in even appointing lecturers and determining syllabus.
He also that the permanent presence of state security officers in offices of University Presidents confirms this full security control.
"For fear of losing their positions, most of those assuming top jobs in universities are unfortunately having no real role in addressing students" desires and rights. Their loyalty is fully to the ruling regime and security bodies. They even take part in repressing students and consequently distort their own image in front of students."
State Security Occupies Egyptian Universities
Dr. Yahya Al Gazzaz, an assistant professor at the geology department Faculty of Science Helwan University", said:" What"s required is a serious and real attempt to drive the security out of the campus. We call for reactivating law and constitution that stipulate that universities and research centers are independent", citing the text of article 317 of the law organizing university affairs. It stipulates that there is only one single security unit to protect university facilities, be under direct control of the university president and that this unit wears a civilian uniform.
"If we reached the stage of giving a deaf ear to law, then we are not in a country, we are in a place which is controlled by the law of the jungle, a place whose only law is survival is for the fittest. If survival is for the fittest, then we are living in a country which is closer to animals life, said Al Gazzaz also a member of the 9 March movement.
Al Gazzaz described what happens in Egyptian universities as "An occupation of universities carried out by the state security bodies.
He cited a personal experience when he formed a group in the university entitled The Sun Group. The State Security Service objected to forming it and he knew later that the state security refused it under claims that he belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood, although everyone knows very well that I do not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Al Gazzaz saw that university professors are required to support rights of all students regardless of their affiliations to exercise their real and legitimate role inside the campus. Otherwise, these pressures over students will lead to an explosion and they will exercise their activities outside and inside the university.
"We are living in a police state in which the security has the upper hand and power. A state in which no power is over the security"s. The security refused even the foundation of a group in the university under the name of "Mubarak", Al Gazzaz said.