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Egypt's students call for march against universities charter

State university students demand Wednesday protest at higher education ministry slamming student union decision to approve 'controlling' charter; Protesters to write alternate constitution

Ahram Online, Monday 1 Oct 2012
Cairo University
File photo: An Egyptian student holds a flare during a march from Cairo University to parliament headquarters (Photo: Reuters)
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Public university students from 12 different political groups announced a march from Cairo University Giza campus to the Ministry of Higher Education in downtown Cairo on Wednesday, in protest of the current student union charter that governs all state universities.


In a joint statement Monday, the students, who hailed from groups including the Constitution Party, Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Social Democratic Party, the Revolutionary Socialists, Egyptian Current, Wasat Party, Kefaya and April 6 Youth Movement rejected the recent student union decision to approve a university charter, which they argued is not representative of their needs.
Instead the group demanded a new document which protects students' rights and freedoms and is approved through a referendum.


"The current charter regulates and limits student activity on campus, for example the student union can cancel any student event if they wish, we don't want this level of control," Mahmoud Nawar, Helwan University student and protester tells Ahram Online, "We never approved this charter, we demand a referendum on a new document that we have a say in. "
On Thursday protesters are expected to host workshops to draft an alternative student constitution better reflecting the requirements of the majority of students.
 

Nawar added that the students are demanding that public discussions on the document then be held before a referendum, so that students know what they are voting on.
Last week, Cairo university students held a week long sit-in rejecting a Ministry of Higher Education decision to hold student union elections under the old charter. Students also demonstrated in front of the Journalists' Syndicate calling on fellow students to boycott the elections.

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