Hundreds of Saudi female students stormed the campus of Umm Al Qura University in Mecca last Saturday to protest what they charged was the lack of fairness in the admissions process. Their protests were shown widely on a video they posted on YouTube after the incident.
In a bid to calm the situation, university vice president Badr Bin Ahmad Habib Allah said the students would be admitted to College of Community Service and Continuing Education without charging them the required tuition fees, which will be paid by the government.
Mr. Habib Allah added that the registration had started on Sunday.
The women had accused the university of having admitted students who did not met the admission requirements. They claimed the existence of favoritism and reservation of academic places for relatives and friends.
Suhaila Zainal Abidin, of the National Society for Human Rights, told AlArabiya.net that favoritism was rampant in Saudi universities without exception, which has prompted the students to storm the university building, a move Ms. Zainal Abidin opposed.
“They (female students) have a right and they did not need to do this because such actions could weaken their position. They could have used official channels to gain their rights instead of the violence.”
She demanded the intervention of the national anti-corruption agency to put an end to all practices of favoritism and unlawful practices in the admissions process.