Students from the British University in Egypt (BUE) have emerged victorious from a week long sit-in by successfully pressuring the secretary general and the president of the university to resign.
Ahmed Hamza, the president of the university announced his resignation on Friday. His decision followed the resignation of the university’s Secretary General Sami El Masri last Sunday. The pair was accused of corruption by the protesting BUE students.
BUE Vice President Moustafa Gouda announced: “The strike is now over. The president voluntarily resigned.” Gouda had said last Monday that voluntary resignation was the only possible way for the president to be removed from his post.
Omar El Alfy, the BUE student union president, reported that Hamza’s resignation was sent in a letter to the board of trustees. El Alfy said: “Before he resigned, Hamza met some of our demands; he abolished the extra fee of £500 for petroleum engineering students and ordered exams to be remarked.”
Gouda believed the president made the correct decision, adding: “He has a long history; he is well-known and a famous physicist.” The vice president reported that Hamza had been considering his resignation during the strike. “He wanted to prevent more strikes. He also has to protect his reputation; especially if he is not accepted by everybody.”
El Alfy also reported that five students were holding an investigation into allegations of corruption; however as part of an agreement if the president resigned, the investigations have now stopped. Regarding a possible investigation, Gouda stated: “We have crossed that bridge and the resignation has stopped the crisis. I do not believe he was corrupt. If there is something to prove that there is corruption then there may be an investigation.”
During the strike the students occupied the university auditorium and held a sit-in outside of Hamza’s office. At one point the students had blocked the gate and prevented Hamza from leaving, resulting in him jumping out of a small window and being driven away in a police car.
El Alfy said that there were rumours that Hamza had gone to public prosecutors and given names of 30 students to be investigated; however he stressed that this has not been confirmed.
El Alfy and Gouda both said that the university will return to normal operations. “The board of trustees must, first, approve his resignation and then they will pass it on to the Ministry of Higher Education,” Gouda said. He added that the board will have to propose a name for the next president who will then be appointed by the prime minister.