Blamed for dancing: suspended Professor says life outside campus “personal freedom”

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Fri, 07 Apr 2017 - 01:58 GMT

Professor Mona Prince - Photo courtesy of Mona Prince's Facebook Page

Professor Mona Prince - Photo courtesy of Mona Prince's Facebook Page

CAIRO - 6 April 2017: Egyptian English-literature professor Mona Prince is under fire and being investigated after posting a video on social media of herself belly dancing.

Over the past hours, Prince’s Facebook account received a wash of attention, ranging from harsh criticism and insults to supportive comments. Some social media users blamed her for “disrespecting” her profession as an academic lecturer, while others judged her behavior by personal photos leaked from her account in which she was wearing a bikini.

Prince is suspended from lecturing at the Faculty of Literature in Suez University, while an investigation into her Facebook post is undergoing to decide whether the dancing video demonstrates “a personal freedom or a violation of academic regulations,” Suez University President Maher Mosbah told Egypt Today Thursday.

In a phone interview, Mosbah said Prince was suspended two months ago over other administrative issues.

Commenting on the video, the Ministry of Higher Education said in a Wednesday

statement

that the “personal freedom of faculty members in universities is protected by the constitution and the law, but it should not go against the norms and ethics of the university.”




The statement added that a “good reputation” is the basis for appointing university professors.

“I cannot see a case. I see the issue is so trivial. Simply, I am Mona Prince...an English literature professor at Suez University…(but) outside the university, no one has the right to question my actions, that’s what I believe,” she said during a Tuesday interview on

Dream

TV Channel.

Prince said she “has done nothing wrong,” adding that she was subject to “the ugliest smear campaign for being a woman,” in remarks to Egypt Today by phone. Her statements came after she filed a defamation case against a journalist, accusing him of stealing her personal photos and sharing them publicly.

At the police station, Prince found a counter police report accusing her of insulting members of the Lawyers’ Syndicate, something that she told Egypt Today “has never happened.”

On March 30, Prince posted a video on her Facebook page in which she was dancing in a long-sleeved blue galabiya (an ankle-length long-sleeved garment) on what appears as the roof of her house. Her status read: “Dancing to my impending freedom in my house.”

On her Facebook page, Prince, 47, identifies herself as a “wild woman” who works as a fiction writer; she sets a cover photo of female pharaohs dancing and playing music.


mona prince
Professor Mona Prince's cover photo - courtesy of Prince's Facebook Page



The suspended lecturer said beside being a professor and translator, she “loves art and is good at dancing,” arguing that she is far away from the “stereotype of professors being always serious and strict,” according to her statements during Tuesday’s TV interview.

Prince went on to say that she, as a professor, wants people to judge her for her academic achievements and writings, but whenever she leaves the gates “that’s my own life.”

TV presenter Wael el-Ibrashy seemed to blame Prince for the actions taken against her while questioning her on his program, asking why she posted pictures of herself in bikini and a video of her dancing, saying, “it is unprecedented for a professor to reveal [their] personal life to public…I want to see the academic professor for her knowledge not for her dance.”

She claimed that some of the professors who criticized her also “sexually harassed and blackmailed students” at Suez University. The university’s president denied her claim.

Prince defended her right to wear or do whatever she wants outside the university’s campus. She further

said

that “the university is trying to get rid of me…because I am a different lecturer who calls for critical thinking,” referring to previous charges of insulting religion drawn against her.

The University’s President, Mosbah, previously told Youm7 that Prince’s case is not taken “personally” and that she was referred to investigations prior to the viral video because of attendance and other disciplinary issues.

The hashtag “In solidarity with Mona Prince” has attracted many supportive comments defending Professor Prince’s right to live naturally outside the campus.

One user shared a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in swimming suit, commenting: “Thank God Angela Merkel is not a professor...or else they would have tried her for wearing a swimsuit, ruining students and deforming the university’s image.”




Prince thanked all supportive posts and announced she will go on with her life and start her new project, which is translating Alice Walker’s novel “The Color Purple,” which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Additional reporting by Youm7's Reporter Sayed Noon.

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