By Sarah Abdel Rahman
A student at The American University in Cairo filed a case with the Student Judicial Board against a professor in the Performing and Visual Arts department accusing him of discriminating against her.
The student, Ingy Mahmoud, said the professor prevented her from taking the winter Art and Architecture course because she was “not physically fit.”
Mahmoud, an Art student, registered for the course and received approval from her parents to travel to Spain to complete the course requirements. She then had to get final approval from the course instructor.
“He said this trip needs physical fitness that I don’t think you have,” Mahmoud said. “I told him I can handle it, and then he said it doesn’t appear so, referring to my weight while staring at my body.”
“He said I would have to prove that I’m up to it [and] when I asked how, he responded, you can go run four laps and come back.I didn’t think that how I look was a criterion for learning. I feel so hurt,” Mahmoud added with tears in her eyes.
The Caravan contacted the course instructor, but he refused to comment.
“Because [the case] involves faculty, we have to contact the appropriate authorities first,” said Seif Abdel Dayem, SJB member. “Then, the normal procedure will take place, and the case will be carefully looked at.”
Stancil Campbell, chair of the PVA, explained there were no written rules that state a student has to be in a certain physical shape to register for a course. Campbell added that professors have to be respectful to students, no matter what they look like.
According to Mahmoud, the course instructor asked to speak to her after she filed the case. “He said to me, neither the Caravan nor Ann Shafer [Art director] nor even the President will help you, because I have the power to add or drop you into the course.”