AUC Alumni for Strike

Dear President Anderson,

We have been extremely proud of our fellow AUC students as well as the University's workers, staff, and faculty who staged a series of protests starting Sunday September 11, 2011. As members of the AUC Community and advocates of student rights, we fully support the protesters' demands and regret not being able to join them in person up until now, with the intention to do so as soon as possible.

However, after receiving several of your mass e-mails addressed to "All AUC" throughout the past week, we felt the urge to make a different type of contribution. We are writing you a public statement in response to what we believe was profound failure to comprehend and define the motivations behind the students' honorable attempts in voicing their legitimate demands, which is summarized in the following points:

  1. "Conflicting Interests": AUC Administration has never been in the habit of sharing the whereabouts of its investments, the sources of its funding, or the detailed breakdown of its budget. As students, we always had to apply pressure to gain access to that information, despite the fact that any not-for-profit university must announce all its financial statements on periodical basis to all its stakeholders; be they students, parents, faculty, or staff. Moreover, the Administration never published information about the salaries of its senior management. For instance, we are unaware how much you, the Provost, and the Vice Presidents are paid. In 2002, speculations were that the President receives 30, 000 US Dollars on monthly basis in addition to luxurious housing, transportation, and other benefits. What actually exhibits a conflict of interest is the lack of transparency that the Administration - up until this very moment - had as a consistent behavior through not publishing its financial statements, including the salaries of its top management, while the university is supposedly a not-for-profit organization.
  2. The University is running on a budget deficit": It is rather shocking to make such statement as a President of such a reputable institution. Who is responsible for this deficit? And why is it so acceptable - apparently from the way you expressed it - that AUC is suffering from a deficit? We all know that the University has embarked upon the new campus project while lacking the resources to complete it. Furthermore, it was announced that the new campus building costs were to be around 300 million dollars, while the final costs were more than 400 million. How is it possible that a financier who made wrong budget forecasts worth 100 million dollars - presumably Vice President for Finance Snaith and his office - were never held accountable for such unbelievable incompetence? And is this the source of the current deficit? If not, then what is the source? We are sure that the deficit does not come from parents' failure to pay tuition because it has been always evident that parents almost never miss their deadlines.
  3. Furthermore, you mentioned that you strive to "wisely spend" AUC's money. We cannot help but notice a huge paradox when we see, for example, such a huge mansion in the middle of campus that is built only for the university's President, while having a dormitory that only has 400 rooms; a number that does not accommodate half of the students in need of permanent residence!

We have a lot of respect for you as a renowned scholar, having personally read several books of yours in the area of international relations. We know you can be a great asset for this University if you have the will to be so, and we know that you have the capacity to take this institute to the next level. Also, we recognize with excitement the recent re-structuring of the Business School and the establishment of the new School for Public Policy. However, it also gravely worries us to see many world class professors leave and become replaced by part-time and inexperienced professors that do not provide the same value to the students (this has been the students' feedback for almost five years).

On another front, we are disappointed to see the social life of AUC - once depicted as the best student life in all of Egypt's and probably the Middle East's schools - being so weakened by the continuous exhibition of lack of planning and proper usage of development methods from the Office of Student Development, which - although being protested against for years - has never been restructured, leading to students exiting from student activities and poor development of student leadership on - and eventually off - campus in their careers.

As AUC Alumni, we demand the following:

  1. Immediate announcement of your salary structure, the whole Senior Administration's salary structure, and the detailed breakdown of the University budget for, at least, the past two years.
  2. Announcing all sources of funding from Egyptian, Arab, and foreign donors as well as all investments in Egyptian and/or foreign stock markets and all other investments.
  3. Immediate restructuring of the Office of Student Development and replacement of its current head.
  4. Having a permanent student representative in the University's budget committee.
  5. Dedicating the luxurious mansion - that is originally dedicated to you as President - to the students' dormitory.
  6. Increasing the total number of seats reserved for students in the University Senate from three to eleven voting seats.
  7. Including a non-voting seat for students on the Board of Trustees to act as a junior trustee; this seat will be reserved for a student representative chosen by the students according to student government laws.

Those demands are supported by a group of AUC Alumni that has contributed a lot to the University. We demand an immediate response to this message as concerned members of the University's community as an initial sign of good intentions. Failing to address these demands would force us to call for wide ceasing of donations made by the Alumni community and beyond until the principles of transparency, equality, and freedom of speech that this University had taught us for long are instilled within the conduct of its Administration.

Thank you and we look forward to your response.

AUC Alumni for Strike    Contact the author of the petition