Universities

LAU Byblos Elections: Students ‘Take Back’ the Council!

The student council elections at the Lebanese American University are scheduled to take place next Friday, November 8th, on both Beirut and Byblos campuses. Last year, the Take Back the LAU Council movement started in Beirut, and culminated in the victory of Hassan Harb in the School of Arts and Sciences, who then was elected to be the president of the council. 

This year, the movement is going to Byblos, too! For the first time in the history of LAU Byblos, a 100% independent, and alternative campaign will be launched. For the first time, students will have the choice to vote for a candidate, and not a political party. For the first time, students will have a ‘third option’, outside the empty circles of March 8 and March 14. For the first time, we will be able to ‘vote alternative‘.

What is the Take Back LAU Council movement?
The Take Back movement aims at providing an alternative choice for the students in the council elections, outside the political spheres. The movement aims at reactivating the student council in order to make real improvements on our campus, instead of rendering it dysfunctional through political bickering. The movement aims at making the voice of ALL students heard, and their concerns delivered.

This year, 100% independent, and alternative, candidates will be running in the LAU elections. They have their awesome agendas on how to make real improvements to our campus life. Keep yourselves posted for more information about them, their agendas, and the campaign by following our official Facebook page.

Why am I part of the movement?
I am a senior student. This is my third year in LAU Byblos, and I have witnessed 2 elections on campus within the past year (you can read what I wrote at the time here). In each election, I have been forced to vote with a blank paper, since I do not think March 8 nor March 14 political parties should be interfering in university affairs. I personally believe that both of these parties are the reason why we are still living in a sectarian rule, where our basic rights are not respected, and where no socio-economic justice is remotely implemented.

I want to be able to vote for a candidate, not for a party. I want to be able to have someone to represent my concerns in the council. Thus, after managing the Stop LAU Tuition Fee Increase campaign, I joined forces with some friends of mine on Byblos campus and decided to launch this campaign, in collaboration with the Beirut movement.

Before finally graduating from LAU, I want to be able to have a voice in my own university, and I am sure that there are lots of people like myself.

Who are the candidates? are they REALLY independent?
The team of Take Back the Council went through a long process of checking and double-checking possible candidates’ political views and affiliations. This included interviews, background checks, and testimonies. The candidates had to agree on specific guidelines we have put for the elections. We will present to you 100% independent candidates; that is our promise.

The campaign will be launched this year on both LAU campuses

The campaign will be launched this year on both LAU campuses

Why should we vote for these candidates?
Let’s say your friend, who belongs to a political party, approaches you and tells you to vote for Him/her. He/she tells you that they are the most powerful on campus and they are the ones who can help you. Let’s say you vote for them, thinking that you are voting for a hardworking and helpful student.

Later that day, your friend wins the elections. You turn on the evening news and you hear the following title: “March 14 candidates win over March 8 candidates in the LAU student elections.”  – What?! Do you even remember voting for that party?

Both political parties in Lebanon use the student elections in order to score political points for themselves, and show how “powerful” they are. They do not care one tiny bit about making real improvements on campus and in the university. When was the last time you heard about something being fixed because of the council’s efforts? We need a change. We need an alternative campaign which would cater to students’ needs.

Is the STOP LAU Tuition Fee Increase related to this campaign?
Some of the students who were behind the tuition increase campaign joined forces with the the people behind the Take Back the LAU Student Council to bring you an awesome alternative option which could make real changes to the university if elected.

What happens if they win?
If one, or more, candidates from the campaign win seats on the council, they will be following-through with their agendas inside the council. They will be rallying for the reactivation of the council, and they will be keeping you posted on whatever happens through social media. If they win, it will be a great start for the new era of independent and alternative thinkers, and real improvements, on the LAU campuses.

What happens if they lose?
If candidates lose, it is still a win – we would have succeeded in presenting a non-political alternative platform, for the first time in Jbeil and the second time in Beirut, which directly speaks to students’ needs without having a hidden agenda. However, we will not give up and we are positive that there are a lot of students who have been waiting for this opportunity for so long. We are finally here, and we will make it!

Last year’s Take Back the LAU Council elections video:

Stay tuned for our media campaign this year – we have lots prepared!

As a student who is not politicized, wouldn’t it be easier if I just ‘vote blank’?
I was one of the people who voted blank last year in LAU, and I realized that voting with a blank paper does not really affect the results of the elections. LAU did not even count the blank votes, which is against all pillars of fair elections. It is true that by voting blank you are taking away votes from politicized and corrupt candidates, which is awesome, though when in a situation where you have a real alternative option, voting blank would be counterproductive. I encourage students to vote blank only if there do not have any alternative runners to vote for. Otherwise, encouraging these brave candidates who stood up for students’ rights would be heroic!

How can we help?
Spread the word! Tell your friends and interested professors about this new awesome campaign! Do not give in to the psychological pressuring political parties put on campus. Stay tuned for more updates and don’t hesitate to get in contact with us if you have any questions, concerns, or input, we are just a Facebook message away. Join us! We want to hear from you!

The names of the candidates and more footage and information will be released starting this weekend! I will keep you updated on the movement as we move along. Wish us luck, stay strong, and vote alternative.

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