The recent denial of Georgetown professor Samer Shehata has led to an on campus backlash against the authorities, with students chiming in to show their support of the longtime face of the university's Middle East studies program.
While the university has not stated publicly their reasoning for refusing to give Shehata tenure, telling Bikyanews.com that they do not comment on the matter to the general public, former and present students have come out to give their backing to the now embattled professor.
They have urged the university to rethink their decision.
"Professor Shehata is a great person and a very good teacher. This decision makes no sense to me," former student Hassan told Bikyanews.com. "It doesn't make any sense to all of us because he put students first and this should be the most important thing for a university, especially of Georgetown's caliber."
The university's student newspaper has also reported and highlighted the frustration among students, quoting a number of individuals who have thrown their backing for Shehata to receive tenure.
Diana Shin (GRD '12) took two classes with Shehata and worked as his research assistant during the 2010-2011 academic year, The Hoya reported.
"I think he is a very dedicated teacher. He is the type of teacher who would Skype in while he was doing fieldwork monitoring parliamentary elections in Egypt for his classes here, and I don't think many professors would do something like that," she said. "He has done an incredible amount of service for CCAS and Georgetown. And just his name, 'Samer Shehata,' has been associated with CCAS for a decade now and just to lose that person is just a great loss for CCAS and for Georgetown."
Shehata himself said he was touched by the outpouring of support over the situation.
"I am extremely touched by the efforts of my former students and other Georgetown alumni," Shehata told the student publication.
"One of the great joys of teaching here has been the opportunity to interact with exceptionally bright students who are intellectually curious, hard-working, and deeply engaged in thinking about the world and its problems," he added.