UC Berkeley evacuates students from Egypt

Kodak Agfa/Courtesy
Since 2011, Egypt has struggled to find political stability. On July 3, the Egyptian army ousted former President Mohamed Morsi, unleashing a new wave of violence and discontent across Egyptian cities.

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Following political instability in Egypt, UC Berkeley has asked all faculty, students and staff members to evacuate the country immediately.

Professor Ron Gronsky, special faculty assistant to the chancellor for international relations, sent out a campuswide memo Tuesday asking for individuals to notify the campus Office of Risk Services if they knew of any UC Berkeley affiliates currently in Egypt.

“As tensions grow in Egypt, the university’s travel insurance program is initiating the evacuation of UC students, faculty and staff,” Gronsky said.

On June 28, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens visiting and living in Egypt due to the political and social unrest. On Wednesday, the department ordered the departure of all U.S. citizens from Egypt.

The Egyptian military ousted then-president Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday and instilled its own temporary government. The military claims that Morsi is being taken out of office because he has been unable to meet the needs of the majority of Egypt’s citizens. Morsi’s supporters and anti-Morsi protesters have begun engaging in violent disputes in Cairo and the surrounding area.

Campus risk manager Andrew Goldblatt said that as of Wednesday afternoon, he knows of five UC Berkeley students currently in Egypt. Goldblatt said he did not know of any faculty or staff members in the country.

“Four of the students registered their trip through UC’s travel insurance program,” Goldblatt said. “We identified a fifth as a result of the memo we sent out last night.”

No UC Berkeley students in Egypt have been injured, and Goldblatt believes that students are not in any immediate danger.

To ensure the safety of the students, Goldblatt declined to comment on the specific evacuation procedure being used.

All registered UC Berkeley students are covered by UC trip insurance as long as they are traveling on UC-related business. Goldblatt said that registering travel with the insurance office is the best way to ensure safety on any trip.

“The travel insurance program exists to maximize the likelihood that our faculty, staff and students will return safely from their travels,” Goldblatt said. “If we don’t know that you’re traveling, we can’t help you.”

At this time, the University of California Education Abroad Program has also suspended its fall 2013 study abroad program in Cairo.

Contact Elise Aliotti at [email protected]