American University in Cairo: University Revokes Chaired Title from Professor in Response to Donor Complaints


Case Overview


FIRE wrote a letter to American University in Cairo (AUC), which is incorporated and accredited within the United States, on July 24, 2019, after Professor Adam Duker raised the alarm about academic freedom violations at the university. In 2016, Duker signed a contract accepting the title of Assistant Professor and Abdulhadi H. Taher Chair in Comparative Religion. In January 2017, Duker met with Tarek Taher — the son of the late Abdulhadi H. Taher, who endowed Duker’s chaired professorship, and was responsible for the management of his endowment at AUC. According to Duker, Taher expressed a desire to pre-approve Duker’s lectures and asked that he proselytize for Islam in class. Duker refused. Six months later, AUC informed Duker that his chaired title had been revoked. When Duker continued to use his title, AUC investigated him for faculty misconduct, ultimately resulting in Duker’s resignation.

FIRE’s letter to President Francis J. Ricciardone asks AUC to recommit to academic freedom in the aftermath of Duker’s mistreatment. AUC declined to substantively respond, noting only that “academic freedom was not infringed in any way in this matter.”