I have been wanting to write something here about the American University of Cairo, where I am serving as a Senior Fellow at John Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement. I will have more to say later about the mission of a liberal arts education here in Egypt, but just wanted to post now that the University has been closed for three days by students who are protesting this year’s 7% tuition increase. Because this campus takes security very seriously (I have to show my ID and go through a metal detector each time I enter the campus) there are a limited number of gates that allow entry to campus. As a result, it is easy to keep secure AND I am learning relatively easy for students to lock people out. Student protestors have put chains with locks on all of the gates, and despite negotiations between the Administration and students, no progress has been made. Though the cause is hardly as noble, it seems that just as the Tahrir protesters would not leave until their singular demand – Mubarek must step down -was met, the students say they will not open the campus until the tuition increase is rescinded.
For now, AUC has officially suspended operations. I am frustrated not to be able to continue my class and am contemplating meeting them off campus. Civic Engagement? Not sure about that.