On March 7, female college students in Abha protested about alleged poor educational standards. These recent incidents have spurred on students of the Women's College of Sciences and Literature at Mahayil under the same King Khalid University to gather and demand changes in the existing practices at their institutions. The women students in Qassim University made similar demands, press reports said yesterday.
At the beginning, the gathering students declared their loyalty and obedience to the rulers and then demanded improvement to the college buildings, which they described to be unfit for university education.
"Their demands included installing shading umbrellas in the campus and the freedom to buy meals from outside the college canteen," Al-Watan newspaper reported quoting a source at the college in Mahayil as saying.
Another demand was that students should be allowed to undertake teaching practice lessons in schools close to their homes, especially those who are coming from distant places, the source said.
The rector of the university reassured them that Asir Gov. Prince Faisal bin Khaled was eager to grant students' demands during her last meeting with the prince. She urged students make their demands in an orderly and peaceful manner.
"She promised the students that the demands would be given due consideration and would be submitted to the college administration," the source said.
The source added that the rector had taken precautionary measures such as removing fire extinguishers to avoid misuse and leaving all gates open to ensure fast and easy exit if the student would resort to rampage as happened earlier in Abha.
Guardians rushed to the college when they learned about the protest. Police officials and Haia members were present outside the college to ensure smooth entry and exit of students.
It was also reported from Buraidah that there was a student demonstration in Qassim University demanding changes in regulations governing foods and drinks, security monitoring and supervision and dress regulations.
"The students' demands ranged from improvement in academic environment and faculties to a permission to bring smart phones and tea flasks," a source at the university said.
The director of the media center at the university said, "About 20 female students gathered at the university's studies center on the main campus at eight in the morning. Later their number grew to 50."
The Rector of Qassim University, Khalid Al-Hamoudi, and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Ahmad Al-Tami were quick to react to the student demands. They arranged a CCTV meeting with the students asking for students' suggestions for the improvements, the newspaper reported.