Cairo University chairman, Gaber Nassar, cancelled the decision to deputise a number of administrative security personnel within Cairo University on Sunday, though the decision remains in effect in other public universities.
Minister of Justice, Adel Abdel Hameed, issued the decision to deputise university security under the pretext of a “lack of security” in university campuses. The decision gives the deputised security personnel the right to file reports against students who commit crimes, reported state-run Al-Ahram.
Nassar met with representatives of the Cairo University Student Union on Sunday when they called on him to cancel the decision within the University.
Mustafa Saad, vice president of the Cairo University Student Union, said the decision would only be applied to handle cases of weapons, the possession of drugs within universities and cases of sexual harassment.
“We nevertheless told Nassar that the decision might be used to fabricate accusations for students,” Saad said. As a result, students asked Nassar to cancel the decision within Cairo University.
A group of 65 Cairo University faculty staff issued a joint statement last week addressing Nassar and interim Minister of Higher Education, Hossam Eissa, calling for the cancellation of the decision. In their statement, the staff said that huge efforts were exerted to achieve universities’ independence and rid them of the presence of security apparatuses.
The faculty staff said they were alarmed to hear about the deputising decision. They said the decision came in light of a string of restrictions on the freedom of expression, and added that it is bound to negatively influence the rights and freedoms of members of university campuses.
In their statement, the staff said that the decision does not promise a stronger deterrent to violence than the already existing measures. They described it as an “unprecedented exceptional procedure,” adding that it would practically create police stations inside universities.
The decision stirred nationwide controversy, as several student unions strongly rejected it. Saad, who is also a member of the Egypt Student Union, which governs student unions nationwide, said the Egypt Student Union intends to address the decision and call for its cancellation. He said that since the union’s head, Mustafa Badran, is also a member of the Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting amendments to the 2012 constitution, he is too busy to call for a meeting to address the state’s decision.
Until 2009, the Ministry of Interior was responsible for providing Homeland Security personnel for securing universities. In 2009, the administrative court banned this decision, establishing an “administrative” university security.
Abdel Hameed has the jurisdiction to deputise citizens, according to the Criminal Procedures Law.