“We are not going to continue with our studies and classes when we know that the administration is not reliable and that the campus is not safe,” Habeeba Khattab, a member of the German University in Cairo’s student union said on Thursday in the midst of a student sit-in.
The sit-in came after 19-year-old first year engineering student Yara Tarek died after a university bus ran her over on Monday. She had been stuck between two buses that collided, students said, adding that the on-campus ambulance arrived late, demanded student IDs, and was poorly equipped.
After the incident, approximately 300 GUC students protested in an on-campus sit-in and presented a set of demands to the university administration.
“Negligence is a problem on campus, and this is the first case of death, but students have been injured before,” Khattab added.
The list of demands that the student union has made includes: that “strict action” be taken against “those responsible for the safety of students”, that the university’s transportation department be held accountable, that the security system and the parking inside the campus be overhauled, that sidewalks are built for students to walk on and wait for the buses, and that bus departures while students are on the ground are prevented.
The students have also demanded increasing the numbers of drivers and buses, and that well-equipped ambulances be available in the campus clinic.
The university has declared a state of mourning and suspended academic activity for three days.
According to the student union, the bus driver has stood in front of prosecution twice without a lawyer and “it is likely that he will have to handle the whole case alone, although the administration will sacrifice him and deny itself any fault.”
A limited number of drivers have to make a large number of trips to and from the university campus every day, leading to a higher probability of accidents, students said.
“The administration won’t admit they did anything wrong, and say this is something that could happen anywhere in Egypt,” Khattab said.