Cairo University reinstates 52 suspended students

Cairo University President Gaber Nassar announced on Wednesday that the university has accepted the appeals of 52 students who had been expelled after being accused of participating in university protests and committing violence, state-owned Al-Ahram reports.

The students who have been reinstated are among 140 who were suspended from Cairo University during the current academic year.

Fatma Serag, a lawyer with the academic freedoms program at the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) told Mada Masr that the administration was pressured to reinstate the students after they filed lawsuits at the administrative court.

Serag said that most of the expulsion decisions skipped all the necessary legal procedures and that the cases against them were unfounded. She said the students had a high chance of winning the court cases, which prompted the university to avoid an unfavorable verdict.

“The University is for the Students” campaign told Mada Masr last week that it estimates that 600 students were expelled from universities across the nation throughout the academic year.

Several Azhar University students received rulings from the administrative court mandating their return. However, the administration refused to put the ruling it into effect, Serag says.

Nassar told Al-Ahram that the return of the students is conditional on signing a document, along with their parents, where they pledge not to participate in political protests or violence. The contract stipulates that if the students participate in similar activities again they will be punished according to the law.

Serag sees these conditions as violations of the students’ rights and an abuse of power on the part of the administration to force them into abandoning their political beliefs.

Amendments made to the law organizing university affairs in March gave university presidents broad powers to suspend students for a wide range of crimes, including harming university property, the educational process, exams and university personnel, as well as inciting other students to commit violent acts. 

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