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As part of our constant strive for better communication and for transparency, we held a live meeting on the 10th of August with Dr. Abdessamad Fatmi the dean of student affairs. The aim of the Livestream was to discuss and answer all student’s concerns about the different areas regarding Fall 2021, and mainly the housing situation. The Livestream helped to clarify and get answers to the following questions.

Why is AUI admitting more students?

Dr. Fatmi stated that the decision for the university to grow is an executive decision to have a larger national footprint. AUI believes that its students need to know that the university is growing along with the country’s growth and the market competition which makes it important for AUI to strengthen its Alumni footprint. AUI chooses to admit more people before completing the new buildings because the growth strategy has started in Fall 2020 and it cannot be stopped for one year, especially that it has shown positive outcomes.

How did the university go about widening its housing capacity?

The university is growing step by step to reach its 2025 goal to have 5000 students. For that, the construction of new dorms, as well as academic buildings, and a student center that will contain a food court, socializing areas, and clubs dedicated floors, is going to start soon. Until then, other housing alternatives are needed. The chosen alternatives were the downtown residence and Farah Inn, where students will benefit from the same services as Campus. However, the campus dorms were overbooked by 400 students, meaning that fewer students have opted for the alternatives.

What will AUI do to make sure that the numbers are matched, and that the process is fair in the case of overbooked campus dorms?

The university made sure that students get a clear idea about the alternatives by producing brochures and videos. However, despite all efforts, there was less demand than expected. The university decided that the category of students who benefited from on-campus housing during Fall 2020 are the most adequate to be asked to experience the alternatives since it would not be the fairest decision to ask juniors and seniors who did not benefit from on-campus housing during the pandemic.

An email was sent to the chosen segment to choose one semester (Fall 2021 or Spring 2022) that they would prefer to spend off-campus. Students who did not fill the form will be automatically assigned city housing.  

What about Pre-fall 2020 students?

Pre-Fall 2020 students will have the requests they made during housing reservations honored, whether they are for on-campus or for city campus. Additionally, it was exclusively announced that students who were assigned off-campus housing, will be given priority for the new residences once they are ready.

Why leave those situations to randomness instead of working on assignment protocols or data-driven decisions?

Part of the educational goal is that alumni leave the university with the best ethical standards. So, the university chose to collaborate with and let students decide what they want so that it would be a fair process and not just imposing.

SGA President, Reda El Makroum confirmed that, as students’ representatives, we pushed for the fact that students should have the choice to live where they want. A less random and more data-driven decision would have been to assign a group of students directly since day one, and not put into consideration the number of students who would want to go through that experience. As the data have shown, over 150 students were convinced that City Campus is the right choice for them, which makes us believe that we made the right decision in terms of what we pushed for. We also made sure to convey the different issues or concerns that will be arising once the options were offered to students, for the university to be able to prepare for them. Additionally, we kept emphasizing how important it was to have the same services across both options.

What is the capacity of vans and how many will come every 15 minutes?

The university is acquiring six new vans with a higher capacity than the existing ones. Additionally, the circuits will be continuously studied to have more information about the service and improve it, especially concerning the minimum time needed between departures. Other than that, transportation services will also be available after curfew on to hour to transport students directly between campus and city campus.

Will there be any labs or a library in the city campus?

Students can still spend the whole day on campus. However, the existing catering areas in Farah Inn and downtown will be divided into two spaces, catering and study spaces. All of this was done considering the number of students who shared with us their concerns regarding study spaces on the city campus.

What about Campus access?

The same regulations will be applied both in the city housing as on-campus.  

For Fall 2021 first access, the decision about whether a negative PCR test is required or not is still not made; the university is still waiting to gather enough information about the national situation. However, if the situation remains the same, students will be asked to provide a negative PCR test if they do not have a vaccination pass or at least the first jab.

Please refer to the updated email sent by Dean Fatmi about Vaccination, PCR and campus access

Sports facilities:

The university is working on an extension of the on-campus facilities so that everyone could benefit from them. If the pandemic situation stays the same, the reservation process to get access will remain the same via power apps. Besides, sports spaces will be available for city campus residents too. 

We would like to thank Dr. Fatmi for his willingness to have this open and transparent discussion with the student body. We would also like to thank all the students who present in the livestream for their presence and the active discussion that was created.

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