The Middle East Studies Association’s Committee on Academic Freedom is urging Egypt’s newly convened parliament to strike down two executive orders issued in 2014 that it says impinge on university autonomy and student freedoms. One of these two orders grants the country’s president the power to appoint administrators at Egypt’s public universities, while the second gives university presidents the right to expel students “who practice acts of vandalism” -- a term that the committee writes is prone to abuse because “vandalism” is loosely defined to include “obstruction” of classes and other university activities.
“There is a troubling history in Egypt of peaceful student demonstrations and other exercises of free speech rights being classified by the authorities as ‘obstruction,’” the committee wrote in a letter to Egyptian government authorities in which it urged repeal of the two orders as “a prerequisite for restoring the full range of freedoms that Egyptian faculty and students deserve.”
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