Egyptian authorities have added stricter security measures to universities this year to avoid violent clashes and political demonstrations on university grounds.
Falcon, a private security firm, has been appointed to secure at least 15 universities throughout Egypt. Students are now required to enter their campus with an ID, and to have their bags scanned through a security check before they pass through their college gates.
Before President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi’s election, the school staff elected deans and heads of public universities. However, Sisi restored the tradition in which the heads of universities are now elected by the head of state himself.
In addition, the heads of universities have now earned the right to fire members of staff that seem like a political threat without a hearing.
Cairo University President Gaber Nasser has banned any political activity on campus, stating that the consequences would result in expulsion of the student.
The authorities at Al Azhar added new paperwork for university housing applications, making students sign in agreement that they “will not participate in any political activities at the university dorms.”
These changes are not being accepted without difficulty however. The March 9 Movement announced that there will be a meeting held with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Higher Education in order to discuss the newly implemented terms and conditions.
“This is meant to silence all dissident voices, not just the Muslim Brothers,” says Randa Abu Bakr. “There are many others who have been harmed by recent developments; a member of the March 9 Movement and an English Literature professor at Cairo University.
Public universities were a political battleground where clashes and riots occurred among students and police. At least 14 students were killed in clashes last year, more than 800 arrested, and around 500 students suspended, expelled, or banned from living on campus.