On Thursday, January 23, 2014 Egyptian security forces clashed violently with Alexandria University students, reportedly leaving one student dead and several more injured.
According to reports, student protesters gathered on campus to advocate that their detained colleagues be released, and to call on students to stage a later protest, commemorating the third anniversary of the January 25, 2011 uprising that sparked the ouster of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. In the course of the protest, the students reportedly threw stones at security forces, who responded by using teargas, and eventually live rounds, shooting and killing education student Amr Khallaf.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the escalating violence on university campuses throughout Egypt, and calls on all sides to exercise restraint. While students have the right to free expression, that right does not extend to violence or the destruction of property; on-campus expression must be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with university values including social responsibility. Student violence against persons or property also creates unnecessary risks of physical harm to individuals and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy. State and university authorities, while they have a legitimate interest in maintaining order and protecting property, must do so in ways that are proportional to the situation, that respect peaceful expression, and that minimize the risk of physical injury. Use of excessive force in response to campus unrest unnecessarily increases risks of physical harm to individuals and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy.