Lebanese Universities Should Stop Their Useless Stupid Elections

Student A from party B attacked student C from party D. The headline reads as such. Substitute the letters for whichever news website you follow for your party of choice, and you’ll get the gist of what happened at NDU earlier today.

An important aspect of the NDU fights has been, to me at least, a serious wakeup call as to how time is flying. It was university election season again, or as I like to call it dumbo open season. I daresay there isn’t a better description for that in 2014.

The following is a video of the fight that took place at NDU today:

And to think that it was only just last year that we had the following gem circulating:

I don’t have pictures of people from other parties

When I recovered from the shock that it was almost November, I couldn’t help but wonder: do these things seriously still exist? Universities still hold these things.

In November 2014, at a time when Lebanon doesn’t have 1) a president, 2) a functional parliament, 3) upcoming parliamentary elections and 4) people with political intellect, universities are still pretending that it’s a necessity for the parties roaming their classes to express democracy.

The fact of the matter remains that the following is correct:

1) Student elections are irrelevant. The only purpose they used to serve is to enrich the democratic spirit within students. When those students start to bludgeon each other over useless politics, the entire purpose is defeated.

2) Student councils that arise from these elections are, in most universities, essentially stillborn. Student movements that you hear of in universities regarding rising tuition fees rarely emanate from those councils. Based on my experience, those movements immediately manage to circumvent the limitations of said councils in order to make bigger impacts and get to what they need. It’s worth to note that USEK, which doesn’t have student elections, also managed to protest their rising tuition fees, albeit that didn’t get as much coverage as AUB because, well, AUB.

3) I can’t believe Lebanese students, who should – in theory – be an example of educated youth wanting to better our country and, you know, all that cliche that is associated with the benefits of higher education, still believe that them voting for Geagea or Aoun is proof enough that the latter or the former command the Christian scene. I can’t believe that they still believe voting for Hezbollah is a referendum over the resistance’s weapons, or that voting for Hariri is proof on his popularity among the Sunni scene. You’re just a tool. It’s high time you see yourself as they see you.

4) It’s sad, read depressing, that these students’ parents keep on paying hefty fees for their sons and daughters to essentially forgo their entire education for a period of a month that starts with scouting for candidates, making sure those candidates fit the required bill, going through student “pointage” to figure out who’s voting for whom. And, because that wasn’t enough, those students end up beating each other up to defend the honor of their za’im of choice. Your $20K tuition is definitely meant from broken ribs, swollen eyes and bruised prides.

5) It’s mortifying that the students going into those fights believe that the politician they’re getting beaten up for actually gives a shit. Here’s a reality check for you: he doesn’t remotely give a rat’s ass about your sorry ass. In fact, he’s probably laughing his ass off while his henchmen write up a speech to pretend he’s coming to your rescue while his last worry in the world is you. Do those students seriously think their politicians would come to their rescue when they end up in jail because of those scenes, when their future is ruined or when they end up expelled? Guess again.

6) In a country of no democracy, university elections are not the last vestige of the good times representing the Switzerland of the Middle East, the freedom of whatever that we had and whatnot. They’re irrelevant and, as it’s become apparently clear, dangerous.

High profile Lebanese universities that do not have student elections are:

  • The Lebanese University
  • University of Balamand
  • USEK

USJ is also considering canceling their elections this year. I say good riddance; USJ is the hub of yearly problems. I mean, what would Jesus say if Hezbollah won in Huvelin? Tsk tsk.

AUB and LAU are still scheduled to hold them.

If there’s a time to cancel university elections, it’s this year. The only thing at stake is a useless student council and political websites orgasming over them winning X or Z. Nobody cares – except the students beating each other up over it.

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8 thoughts on “Lebanese Universities Should Stop Their Useless Stupid Elections

  1. Although I am 100% against these stupid elections, I have to point out that the ABET (Accreditation board of Engineering and Technology) accreditation dictates Universities must hold student elections to remain accredited i.e. LAU and AUB

    Reply
      • Actually they can’t. According to UOB President Dr. Elie Salem “there is just no escaping the elections because of our work towards accreditation. But the council and I are trying to make this the last tick on the list” plus minus a few words. Regradless of how it goes in Lebanon, ideally speaking, student councils have a lot of power in universities, once properly elected… but then again what am I saying aren’t we in an ideal country as it is?

        Reply
        • I didn’t say university elections are useless. But in current circumstances, with such students, I’d say they are utterly useless, especially with deep-entrenched politics effectively neutering any effect of student councils.

          Reply
  2. The elections didn’t punch anybody in the face, they’re innocent.
    Let’s act like an advanced society, identify the one who started the fight, and punish him. Backward societies always obfuscate the doer and blame their problems on abstract concepts like “elections” or “fitna” or whatever.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: On elections ethics and the importance of voting — Outlook AUB

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