• Youth
  • November 17, 2008
  • 7 minutes read

Illusion of Freedom in Egypt’s Private Universities

Illusion of Freedom in Egypt’s Private Universities

It was normal to learn that tens or even hundreds of university students were removed from the electoral lists and prevented from standing for student union elections, in addition to the unprecedented violations that occurred in the university campus, and referring hundreds of students to investigation and disciplinary boards, this was normal for years, and despite the fact that it is getting worse, it is not a new thing.

Now, private universities are also suffering from the same thing, as it is the first time when a student at Sinai Private University is prevented from the nomination in the elections for nothing but for his being a blogger. So was it an illusion that, as some people thought, there is relative freedom in some private universities?

What had happened to the student Omar Salama, was an enough evidence that these universities are also under the command of the State Security Service.

Omar Salama, Student and blogger, expressed in a phone conversation with Ikhwanweb the grief he feels towards the fact of removing his name during his standing for student elections in Sinai Private University.

“I thought that private universities enjoy a space of freedom that is much better than public universities, but I was surprised by the fact that the state security is controlling private universities too.”

Omar added, “I was surprised on the election day, last Monday, November 10 that my name was not included in the voting papers, although it was included in the final lists of candidates. So I went to the head of Youth Care Department who avoided answering my questions, and I did not know from him why I was removed, so I decided to go to the Vice-President of the University, and I was surprised by his answer, as he told me that they will examine this issue. So I did not know what had happened and why I was removed till one of my teachers in the Faculty of Information told me that the reason behind removing me was that I am a blogger.”

Salama is considered the first student who was prevented from nomination in the private universities.

Mr. Ahmed Seif al-Islam Hamad (Director of Hisham Mubarak Law Center) denounced in statements to Ikhwanweb what had happened to the student Omar, confirming the intervention of the security in the academic life. He said state security intervenes in everything in the academic life, starting from the intervention in student union elections to the appointment of the presidents of universities, and he  described the attempts to remove students from elections of  being contrary to Article 47 of the Egyptian Constitution, which ensures freedom of opinion and expression. He revealed that removing Omar from  student elections is a penalty without any legal basis,  and he asked Omar to file a challenge against the decision of the university administration of excluding him from the nomination.


Gamal Eid, Executive Director of Arab Network for Human Rights Information, said in statements to Ikhwanweb, “It is clear that student bloggers have been added to the list of hated and prohibited students from nomination in student union elections by security decisions, and this is a logical behavior by the police services, but why do not the university administrations reject this police intervention in the affairs of the universities?”

It seems that freedom in Egypt’s private universities is an illusion that no one should  believe,  as the State Security Service is controlling not only the universities but also all institutions and aspects of the Egyptian life, discarding the law, the Constitution and all human rights.