AUC’s Dean of Students, Dr. George Marquis, officially announced the immediate freezing of AIESEC AUC’s budget and operations pending the results of a formal investigation into the activities of the club.
Kamal AbdelGhani, AIESEC AUC President, explained that, “I was given permission to operate under Ms. Dalia Issa’s consent. The Dean of Students didn’t know we had permission.I received a formal email yesterday pertaining to the investigation. However, the email did not disclose what they were investigating exactly.”
When asked whether the freezing could possibly be linked to any money issues, AbdelGhani’s response was, “when we got frozen, we showed the dean all the emails, attachments and receipts. I had approvals from the OSE to operate.”
AbdelGhani added that, “AIESEC was allowed to operate on a soft mode; meaning small scale operations,” as per an email he received from Ms. Dalia Issa before she left her position in the university. However, according to the AIESEC president,“Ms. Dalia Issa was not informing the Dean of Students of our approvals and I didn’t know that this is something she had to do,” explained AbdelGhani.
Regardless of the current issue of AIESEC’s activities being frozen, AUC students have opened up on their experiences with the club. One student, Amira AbdelBaki, shares her story with The Insider AUC.
After signing a contract with AIESEC to travel to India for a six-weeks volunteer program on July 3, 2017, AbdelBaki had to back out due to medical issues. AbdelBaki had already paid the fees for travel and thought that a medical report would help her get a refund, as evidence that she could no longer travel with AIESEC.
Upon presenting the medical report to different AIESEC representatives, “I was told that this is a receipt for medicines and another person told me this is a normal report that anyone can write” explained AbdelBaki.
AbdelBaki explained that she had told AIESEC two-weeks prior to the date of realization via WhatsApp that she was ill and would not be able to travel. The realization date is the date that is the basically the time around the traveling period where applicants have the chance to back out of the trip and possibly obtain a refund provided they present an adequate excuse. By August, she had presented them with a medical report.
However, according to AbdelGhani , AIESEC AUC’s President, ” she did not request the refund prior to her realization date. We have a refund request form. It has a date and time stamp that shows explicitly when it was submitted. That was not on or before the day she was meant to go on exchange.”
“I was not looking to get my money. It was $ 70. I gave up, but I sent an email to AIESEC India for the first time,” added AbdelBaki.To her surprise, the people in India were not even aware of her travel arrangements. “Someone told me, ‘“who brought you?”, “who did your interview?” He did not know that there is someone called Amira AbdelBaki coming,” added AbdelBaki.
As AbdelBaki jumped from one person to another, she never managed to get her money back and decided to file a complaint to AIESEC EGYPT. “As far as I am concerned, the quality control manager responded. She told me AUC is the best entity for AIESEC. Although, it is now frozen. She told me I don’t have medical proof and that the realization date passed,” shared AbdelBaki.The phone call was unfruitful and AbdelBaki told her, “this is a lesson I learned and I will spread the message.”
On the other hand, AbdelGhani explained that AbdelBaki was requesting a full refund. “Usually the case for a refund is, if you cancel prior to the realization date, you get 500 LE out of the 1400 contract. If you meet the specific set of circumstances and conditions, you get a full refund. Among these, are critical medical conditions. In this case, we need documented proof. The document proof she provided was basically a medical note which you can pretty much get anywhere for a random hospital in Egypt if you pay them 25 pounds.”
Despite the back and forths, AbdelBaki explained that, “the contacts in India didn’t even know I was coming. Imagine if I had actually went to India. No one would have known.”
So far regarding the freezing of operations and budgets, AIESEC AUC president candidly stated that, “I am trying to see how this will work out with the university. I was explicit with my advisor on the issues AIESEC has had. I am not here to cover it up.”
In terms of the refund situation with AbdelBaki, “these regulations are set by AIESEC Egypt. We just put them forward. This is not because we don’t want to give her back her money. There are just a set of policies in a contract she signed. She agreed to this by signing the contract.
There is no indication of which direction the overall investigation on the frozen budget and operations will take, as it is still ongoing. The Insider AUC is awaiting the investigation results from the Dean of Students.