Students at the British University in Egypt chanted slogans against the administration at a campus demonstration on Sunday, demanding the return of several colleagues expelled for participating in previous protests.
The demonstration was organised by the student union in response to the expulsion of four students on 2 October.
The expelled students were part of earlier protests at the start of the academic year that called for students to be given the right to write their own bylaws.
According to a decree issued by the university, the expulsions occurred on the grounds of the Constitution for Universities of 1972. Article 49 of this constitution bans unwarranted protests or demonstrations on the campus.
Students protest on BUE campus (Photo:Sandra Ramzy)
"Students had no access to this ancient constitution. We were promised to write our own one but the new administration was opposed to this and even cancelled the referendum," a former member of the student union, who wanted to stay anonymous to avoid possible expulsion, a former member of the Student Union told Ahram Online.
However, some students claim to have been expelled for statements they made online, on their private accounts. In a recent television interview with Mahmoud Saad, the university’s president stated that "students believe social networking sites are safe, which they are not."
Of the expelled students, one was readmitted according to an official email sent by president Ahmed Hamad.
"As for the other students, they plan to sue the institution on the legal grounds of its partnership with the University of Loughborough in England. The BUE claim to mirror British standards and those include the freedom of speech, which the students are now being punished for," claimed one student representative who also spoke on condition of anonymity.
Students who stood their ground on Sunday did not seem to be cowed by threats of expulsion. "They cannot expel us all. I am not afraid; we are standing together for our colleagues' rights," said one student.
Another student posed a question regarding the new private security guards on campus: “If they are here to protect us, why are they standing opposite us to protect the president?”