The President of the Lebanese University, Prof. Fouad Ayoub, announced that the student elections will be held at the University with a date set at the beginning of the next academic year and before the end of 2019.
Following the invitation of "Sama Club", an open dialogue with Prof. Ayoub and the students took place on 18 February at the Rafic Hariri University Campus, Hadath. Prof. Ayoub pointed out that the student elections will be held “whether we like it or not” because it is a prerequisite of international bodies to continue the provision of academic accreditation to the University. He also announced that the University Council has to adopt the bylaws of the National Union of the Lebanese University Students by March at the most.
He pointed out that the elections, which will be held according to an effective proportional electoral system, will include 53 branches in one day except for the newly established branches (Akkar, Baalbek-Hermel and Byblos). Prof. Ayoub denied that the political quota is the reason for not holding the elections for more than ten years. He said, "The suspension of the elections is related to the abnormal situation at the national level and the major disagreement within the Lebanese society, and we will not approve any election law that will be fit for any party or clubs, and they should all agree among them".
Regarding the appointment of professors and staff, Prof. Ayoub said, "I have not promised anyone to establish a sectarian balance in the Lebanese University, first because I am not sectarian, and second because the Lebanese University is a national university that embraces all people based on their competencies". He added, “The appointments of directors belong to the law issued in 1966 and I receive the nominations from the faculties, and I will rely on competence first in determining the successful therefrom, and will not accept to appoint any person who is not competent in order to achieve a sectarian balance”.
Regarding the University affairs, Prof. Ayoub spoke about the desire of the University Council to activate the student councils and encourage the establishment of Lebanese University graduates' unions as soon as possible. He also noted that work is under way to develop a structure for scientific research, to amend the conditions of accepting teaching applications with emphasis on research and management skills, and to enhance the consulting offices and the Center of Profession, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Prof. Ayoub pre-empted the open dialogue with the students by presenting information in figures about the University, which includes 80,874 students, 5,467 professors and 2,834 employees. He pointed to the need to employ more than one thousand employees for the administrative staff of 19 faculties and institutes in 64 branches nationwide.
The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) attended the meeting, represented by Mr. Ali Najah Salim, who expressed the Association's readiness to provide the required support for the student elections in the University and proposed recommendations for the electoral system and the voting mechanism. He also proposed to monitor and follow up the electoral process from the start of voting until the end of sorting the votes and announcing the results. Prof. Ayoub welcomed this initiative and stated that he will submit it to the University Council.