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AUC Shutting Down Zamalek Dorms

The iconic Zamalek landmark will be closing its doors from July 1st 2015.

Ok as if it wasn’t a sad enough blow when AUC picked up their entire operation, left its historic Downtown spot and moved to the other end of the world and into the middle of nowhere/the desert in New Cairo, now they’re apparently shutting down their iconic Zamalek dorms.

The 11-story building, located right by the Mar'ashly Church, houses both students and faculty and has been in operation since 1991. A staple of Zamalek (like, the recognisable landmark you tell your cab driver), the dorms will “suspend operations” as of July 1st, according to what President Lisa Anderson said in a University Senate meeting earlier this month. An email, sent only to the residents of the Zamalek dorms, stated, “In the trustees meeting on March 6, the board authorised suspending operation of the Zamalek Building as of July 1, 2015, and directed the Administration to develop a plan during FY15-16 for the use or disposal of the building that is consistent with the long term strategic plan of the university.”

According to AUC publication The Caravan, Executive Vice-President for Administration and Finance, Brian MacDougall, told them that closing down the dorms as residential housing was a strategic decision made because they need AUC for focus its activities on the New Cairo campus.

So what exactly is going to happen to the current residents of the dorms and the building itself? That remains to be seen. According to what MacDougall said, that “based upon residential life projections of supply and demand, we have enough space at the New Cairo campus to accommodate all of the students,” it seems the Zamalek residents may be expected to re-locate to the New Cairo campus.

Needless to say, those living in the Zamalek dorms, like Samia Mehrez, Professor of Arab and Islamic Civilizations, who has called those dorms home for nearly a quarter of a century, are not terribly pleased about the news of the Zamalek dorms closing, and have said that the university administration mishandled the situation by not properly or formally informing the residents.

As for the future of the building, no decisions have been reached yet. They may go the GrEEK campus route and lease it, or they may simply rid themselves of it altogether and sell it. “We have to make a determination of what to do with the building for the future because the building is a highly valuable piece of real estate,” MacDougall told The Caravan. “One might make the decision to sell the building, and use the proceeds from the building to pay down the debt of building this campus.”

Main image courtesy of thekatiekhronicles.wordpress.com