A series of bombs exploded just outside the campus of Cairo University on April 2, 2014, killing two, including senior police official Brigadier General Tarek el-Mergawi, and wounding nine other police. The bombs appeared to target a police detail stationed just outside the campus, with the first two going off within a few minutes of each other, and a third explosion occurring roughly two hours later. A group calling itself Soldiers of Egypt reportedly took responsibility, claiming the attack was in retaliation for the government’s alleged detention of women and girls. Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has seen a series of clashes on and near university campuses between supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Egyptian security forces.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the escalating violence on university campuses throughout Egypt, and calls on all sides to exercise restraint. Violent incidents on or in close proximity to university campuses threaten the lives and well-being of members of higher education communities, whether as intended or collateral victims. In addition to harming individuals, such attacks undermine higher education functions, autonomy and academic freedom, impairing the ability of the higher education to serve its public mission. State and university authorities, all members of higher education communities, and all members of society benefit from this mission and have a responsibility to promote higher education that is safe, secure and free from intimidation.