The German University in Cairo (GUC) denounced a referendum on university bylaws held by a number of GUC students last Saturday as “illegitimate”, in a statement released on Wednesday. The GUC plans to hold its own separate referendum.
Students claim GUC has been refusing to change the university bylaws since 2011, so they were forced to draft their own alternative bylaws and hold a referendum without university permission. Those who took part in Saturday’s referendum voted overwhelmingly in favour, according to the referendum organisers.
The university has filed a report against students for harming security personnel on Saturday as they forcefully tried “to enter the university’s main gate carrying six big glass ballot boxes.”
One of Saturday’s organisers, Ahmed Hassan, he will now organise elections for a new GUC Student Union, with or without the cooperation of the university administration. He has given the administration the deadline of Monday to agree to participate in these elections.
“Whether or not the administration replies, the elections are due to be held by hopefully by 20 October,” Hassan said.
Students have also complained of intimidation since holding their referendum. Hassan said he has been followed on campus by university security personnel, who he believes are reporting on his movements.
“The university has started a new trend of searching our cars before letting us in through the entrance,” Hassan said, stating such an act is against university regulations. When he complained to security personnel on Monday, Hassan claimed he was forced to leave campus by a security officer named Lieutenant Ahmed Magdy Kreish, who threatened him with a weapon.
“When I picked up my phone to call a lawyer, he held his weapon against me and told me that if I don’t leave, he shall take me into custody,” Hassan said.
Hassan filed a report on Wednesday accusing the GUC administration of allowing military intelligence into the campus.
“We asked that the report be referred to military prosecution,” Hassan said.
The bylaws, subject of Saturday’s referendum, regulate Student Union elections among other things. Many students refused to recognise the 2012 GUC Student Union, elected earlier this year. These students claimed the bylaws under which the 2012 Student Union elections were conducted were unjust, and boycotted the vote.