The 9 March movement announced on Saturday that it has been assured by the government that the latter will not proceed with amendments to the law regulating university affairs.
Hany El-Hosseiny, Professor at the Faculty of Science at Cairo University and member of the 9 March movement, said three of the movement’s members received identical calls from Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb. The three members informed that the government would not go through with the amendments.
The movement, made up of university faculty members pushing for universities’ independence, has been exerting pressure over the past month to stop the amendments proposed by the cabinet.
The amendments allow university presidents to dismiss faculty members on a range of grounds, including the “participation in a protest with the purpose of disrupting the educational process”.
They were approved by the Mehleb cabinet last month, although they still need Presidential sign-off to be ratified.
The amendments allow faculty member dismissals without a disciplinary committee decision. Professors in the movement say this enables the expulsion of faculty members without a trial or proper investigation.
Al-Hosseiny had previously described them as amendments that “contradict the very laws of justice”. In a statement last week, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) said the amendments were “unconstitutional”.
Al-Hosseiny added the movement has been exerting pressure on various levels, by staging demonstrations and through the media.
On 13 October, the 9 March movement organised a protest in which Cairo University faculty members protested against the proposed changes. Before the protest, the movement asked Cairo University President Gaber Nassar for permission to protest.
On 28 September, a delegation made up of three members of the movement approached Mehleb and handed him a statement issued by the movement signed by over 300 faculty members from various universities. The faculty members voiced to Mehleb their objection of the amendments.
The academic year officially began on 11 October, after the government postponed the beginning originally scheduled for 27 September.
According to a statement issued by Democracy Index on Saturday, during the first week of the year, 18 universities witnessed 58 protests, with an average of 10 protests a day. Clashes resulted in the arrests of at least 163 students.
Over the past academic year, at least 16 students were killed inside their campuses and hundreds were arrested, according to AFTE.
This year, private security company falcon was hired by the government to secure eight universities but students violently clashed with them last week, forcing them to temporarily flee several university campuses.