September 19, 2012
Fact or Fiction
The American University in Cairo would like to clarify several factual errors that have been circulating internally and have appeared in media reports in the past few days regarding student protests against a 7 percent increase in tuition this year. The University has issued a statement to the media this morning and would like to make several clarifications of fact to members of the community.
The University is not closing the campus tomorrow, and all classes and activities will resume as normal.
No students have been expelled from the University at this stage, and none have been subject to disciplinary actions for expressing their views or organizing peacefully. Earlier this week, five students were suspended, pending the outcome of an investigation, for obstructing access to the campus and infringing upon the rights of other students to receive the education to which they are entitled.
Final decisions regarding the students will be determined by the Student Disciplinary Committee (SDC) composed of faculty, staff and student representatives in a fair and transparent process that includes a review of the evidence and the opportunity for defense. After the first hearings began yesterday, the SDC decided to permit suspended students to attend classes until a final decision has been reached. The SDC has received complaints against other students, is reviewing the evidence and will begin a disciplinary process for additional students as needed. Three students have made attempts to hack into the University’s IT system or spoof e-mail accounts. The names of those students have been referred to the SDC.
The University considers its students integral members of the University community. Last year, permanent seats were created for student representatives in nearly all management committees of the University, including a Budget Committee with faculty, staff and student representatives where financial matters, including future tuition increases, are discussed. This reflects the belief that the perspectives of our students are important elements in how we plan for and administer the University.
Discussions with students throughout the last year academic year were effective in bringing about the following changes:
o Termination of Delicious Inc. and complete overhaul of food services on campuso Restructure of the student activity fee to allocate to the Student Union 100 percent of these feeso Creation of a standing Budget Committee with student, faculty, staff and parent representativeso Reduction of parking fees from LE 10 to LE 5 and the introduction of a carpool policy that allows any car with two or more passengers to park for freeo Introduction of a second bus-service providero Reduction of photocopying and printing costs from LE 0.25 to LE 0.10
o Opening of a 24-hour supermarket on campus
In addition to progress made with students, numerous longstanding staff issues have been resolved including the introduction of a five-day work week for all staff; the increase of the minimum salary for all full-time employees to LE 1,400 per month; the correction of salary inequities for long-serving employees; and the creation of the Office of the University Ombuds.
The University continues to welcome informed and thoughtful student participation in all aspects of University life, within the principles of the Freedom of Expression policy and on a basis of mutual respect for all members of the AUC community. To that end, the administration will be meeting with the Parents Association today and will be organizing meetings and forums with students and others in the next several weeks to set priorities and a plan of action for the year ahead.