As previously noted, students have been the source of the most
visible opposition to the Qadhafi regime. They initially appeared
to support the revolution. Friction soon developed, however, when
it became clear that student organizations would lose their autonomy
within the ASU or GPC framework. The revolution nonetheless continued
to have student supporters, and many of the first people's committees
formed in the wake of the 1973 cultural revolution were established
at universities. Those committees radically altered curricula,
dismissed professors and deans, and terminated the school term
early so that students could join volunteer projects and receive
military training. Seventeen years after the Qadhafi-led coup,
students as a whole remained divided between supporters and critics
of the revolutionary regime.
A particularly serious incident occurred in January 1976 when
students at the University of Benghazi protested government interference
in student union elections. Elected students who were not ASU
members were considered officially unacceptable by the authorities.
Security forces moved onto the campus, and violence resulted.
Reports that several students were shot and killed in the incident
were adamantly denied by the government. Nonetheless, sympathizers
organized more protests. Qadhafi and Jallud, speaking on April
6 at Tripoli University, called on revolutionaries there to drive
out the opposition. Some clashes occurred as the newly formed
people's committee undertook the purging of nonrevolutionaries.
The school was finally closed temporarily and then renamed Al
Fatah University. Since that time, there have been intermittent
reports of student rebelliousness. In April 1984, for instance,
two students at Al Fatah University were publicly hanged. Apparently
in revenge, two revolutionary committee members were found murdered
on campus. According to Amnesty International, two more students
died in 1985, allegedly under torture while in the custody of
the revolutionary committees.
Data as of 1987