Professor strikes start at 4 universities

Faculty members at Egyptian universities staged Saturday a strike at four universities, in accordance with the new academic year, demanding university leaders be sacked. Another 13 universities joined on Sunday.

Higher Education Minister Moataz Khorshid said faculty deputies who have resigned in order to run for dean will not return to their posts. Only deputies who have stopped working until elections are over will return.

Elections went well at all universities, Khorshid added, saying he is not worried about some leaders who are holding onto their posts and considered their resignations a matter of time.

The minister also expected more university leaders to resign in accordance with professors’ demands.

Sherif Hamed, general coordinator of the professors strike committee, said the strike started Saturday at universities of Mansoura, Alexandria, Monufiya and Assiut.

Cairo University, which witnessed elections of 19 deans, will only offer support to other universities whose presidents refuse to resign, Hamed added.

At Assiut University, hundreds of faculty members and administrative office employees protested demanding dismissal of university president Mostafa Kamel and faculty deans.

At Alexandria University, professors, students and employees at faculties of fine arts, engineering, sciences and agriculture took part in the strike. However, work resumed at other faculties like commerce, law and arts, despite weak attendance by students.

A limited number of professors and teaching assistants at faculties of medicine, veterinary, dentistry and education took part in the strike. Marches were staged from the striking faculties to the university administrative office, where they protested.

At Mansoura University, coalition of teaching assistants and assistant lecturers decided to stage an open-ended strike and protested before the university’s administrative office to demand dismissal of university leaders, pay raises and increases in spending on scientific research.

Despite some banners urging strikes at three faculties, no strikes were seen at Cairo University.

The electoral college for selecting the new president for the university held its first meeting to elect the committee supervising presidential elections from among electoral college members.

Students affiliated with the April 6 Youth Movement distributed pamphlets to new students at Ain Shams University to inform them of the university’s problems, including new student regulations. The statements urged them to call for better student rights.

Amr Ibrahim, head of the university student union, said students will stage protests on Sunday morning in front of the offices of faculty deans. Marches will then head to the university administrative office.

At Minya University, arrangements were made for Sunday protests. The 9 March movement, April 6 Youth Movement, University Members for Reform and the Union of Employees and Workers raised banners urging rallies against university leaders, including the president.

In Kafr al-Sheikh, 10 professors ran for the post of university president, whereas three professors, including resigned president Abbas Mansour, ran for the same post at South Valley University.

The Higher Education Ministry announced in August that it would allow faculty members to choose university heads after the former voted in favor of the option. Khorshid said that current heads would be sacked, but that the order has not been fully implemented.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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