US & World

Calif. students evacuated from Egypt

As unrest spreads throughout the country, at least 23 people were killed in Cairo on Tuesday and over 200 others were injured. Arabic language students from UC Davis were being evacuated.
As unrest spreads throughout the country, at least 23 people were killed in Cairo on Tuesday and over 200 others were injured. Arabic language students from UC Davis were being evacuated.
Ed Giles/Getty Images

A group of California college students is on their way back home from Egypt, now that the country's political situation is in turmoil.  The  students were in the country as part of a UC Davis study abroad program. 

The students were in no immediate danger, but the university wanted to make sure the students could get out safely before the situation got worse, according to Zachary Frieders, associate director at the university's Education Abroad Center.

RELATED: Egypt's army suspends constitution; President Morsi no longer in power, military says

"In 2011, when we evacuated students from the systemwide education abroad program, the airport shut down, and air transportation was difficult.  We had a window of a couple hours to get them out of there and we wanted to avoid that situation this time," Frieders said.

The students arrived in Cairo on June 18 to study the works of Egyptian authors and filmmakers as part of a UC Davis Summer Abroad program. The group included eight students from UC Davis, one each from UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, their instructor Noha Radwan of UC Davis' Department of Comparative Literature, and Radwan's son, according to a statement from the university. They were supposed to be in Egypt until mid-July.

In 2011, the year massive nationwide protests led to the ouster of then-president Hosni Mubarak, school officials decided to bring students home early from another study abroad program.

More students from universities around the United States were being evacuated because of the political disruption. 

A U.S.-based international education and training organization said Wednesday it's evacuating 18 Arabic language program students from Egypt to Morocco due to deteriorating security conditions.

Armine Poghikyan of the nonprofit American Councils for International Education in Washington, D.C., said Wednesday that participants in the Arabic Overseas Flagship Program arrived June 21 at Alexandria University for what was to be one year of studies. Officials decided the program needed to move to Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, Morocco, in the wake of political violence across Egypt, and the students will leave that country by the end of the week.

The 18 students are from Michigan State and Oklahoma universities, as well as the universities of Michigan, Texas and Maryland.

Egypt's military announced Wednesday that President Mohammed Morsi will be replaced with the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Military officials also called for early presidential elections and suspended the Islamist-backed constitution. Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding the removal of Morsi. Morsi supporters shouted, "No to military rule!"

Eight other University of Michigan students also will be evacuated from The American University in Cairo, University of Michigan officials announced Wednesday afternoon. The seven undergraduate students and one graduate student are expected to leave the city Thursday and ultimately return to the United States.

The students, who were about halfway through a two-month cultural program, originally were ordered to stay in a residence hall, but "the uncertainty of the situation in Cairo in the days ahead made this decision very clear for us," James Holloway, university vice provost for global and engaged education, said in a statement.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based university said three more students participating in another Arabic language study course in Cairo are moving with their program to Amman, Jordan.

Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said it has five graduate students in Egypt and has offered to help them leave. The university has also suspended study-abroad programs for Egypt this fall.