By Rawan Ezzat
Alexandria University President Dr Osman Ibrahim announced Tuesday the suspension of all university-run businesses and administration in solidarity with protesting employees.
The employees have been engaged in a sit-in since Sunday outside the Alexandria offices of the Ministry of Finance, protesting the ministry’s reallocation of a fund that was to be used to improve their wages.
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Ibrahim said that the decision to suspend university administration was made in support of the striking employees. Ibrahim called on the Shura Council to take action by confirming both an additional EGP 2.4bn for the university’s budget for the 2013-2014 academic year and a raise in employee wages.
The president’s move was met with mixed reactions from the protesters, however. “I don’t believe this was the right decision,” said protester Nesrine Ahmed, who emphasised that there are other ways of escalating the issue without closing the university.
Fellow protester Amira Mahmoud agreed. “This step should be taken later,” she said. “Until we have exhausted other options, students must not be affected by any means.”
While lectures at the university continue, all administrative offices and related business have been shut down since Wednesday.
In April, the Ministry of Finance had agreed with the Shura Council to create a fund, whereby ten percent of revenues from Egyptian universities would be allocated to improve the financial situation of university employees.
However, the ministry decided to use the fund to settle its outstanding debts owed to various universities, prompting the outrage of university employees and the current sit-ins.