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AUC gates open after 10-day fees protest ends

Details of deal brokered between American University in Cairo administration and protesting students expected in Monday press conference; professor denounces strike as 'counter-revolutionary'

Ekram Ibrahim, Monday 1 Oct 2012
Students of the American University in Cairo
Students of the American University in Cairo (Photo: Hossam Abdel-Galil)
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The gates of the American University in Cairo campus, which have been shut for more than 10 days due to a student-led sit-in, were opened, Monday, after an agreement was brokered between the university administration and the demonstrators.

The details of the agreement are expected to be announced at a press conference Monday afternoon in the Oriental Hall at the Tahrir Square campus, the university confirmed via its official website. A follow up "community-wide event" will be held on the following day in the Bassily Auditorium at AUC's New Cairo university grounds.

Dissatisfied with the seven per cent rise in tuition fees this academic semester, a group of students initially barred the gates on 13 September and 20 September, before permanently closing the entrance on 23 September.

In response the university administration cancelled all classes, Thursday, stating that the action "had created a dangerous situation in the streets around the campus."

AUC had attempted to continue classes as normal by holding sessions online and moving lectures to the AUC's downtown campus.

Although the movement's Facebook page claimed, last week, that it had a gathered 2000 signatures in support of the decision to shut the gates, the strike sparked a mixed reception from students and professors, some complaining that they were being forced to join the boycott.

"This is not an 'occupy' movement. What we are seeing now is an example of counter-revolution, the kind… that our revolution has been facing from its inception on Jan 25," Khaled Fahmy, professor and chair of the history department, said on his Facebook account, Monday.

Fahmy stressed that he supported the students' movement and defended their right to demonstrate but objected to the manifestation of their protest.

 "What we are witnessing is a few individuals who are mocking all academic traditions and conventions," Fahmy continued "[they are] making fun of revolutionary values and principles."

Last year, similar protests were held outside the university, as students demonstrated against rising tuition fees as well as demanding better wages for campus workers.

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