Committee formed on Zewail City crisis; students storm campus

The Cabinet has formed a ministerial committee to study the crisis between Nile University and Zewail City of Science and Technology, said Minister of Higher Education Mostafa al-Sayed Mossad in a statement Wednesday.

The committee held a meeting Tuesday to discuss the issue and would hold more meetings until the problem is solved, Mossad added, stressing that the committee will remain in session until they reach a solution that maintains the stability of Nile University and preserves the interests of the students.

Nile University was established on land originally allocated for the Zewail City of Science and Technology project in 2000 under the government of former Prime Minister Atef Ebed.

The state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar says that former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif allocated the same plot of land to the Nile University project in 2006.

Nazif's move had been criticized as an effort to counter Zewail's popularity, a crucial matter for the regime of the ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

After the 25 January revolution, the government of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf allocated the land to Zewail City and relocated Nile University, whose campus had already been built on that land, to Smart Village.

Nile University students staged protests on Tuesday inside the Zewail City of Science and Technology and announced an open-ended sit-in demanding that the campus remain in Zewail City, where many of its expensive laboratories are not being used by students.

The students clashed with security officers when the officers tried to prevent their entry.

“All we need is to be able to use the city labs,” said Ahmed Nassar, president of the Nile University Student Union.

Nile University President Tareq Khalil has said the labs still belong to the university.

The student unions of the American, British and German universities in Cairo issued a joint statement in solidarity with the students, calling Nile University “the first research university that proved excellence despite mounting difficulties in the last few years.”

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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