Recap: GAships restored, USFC statement retracted, solidarity protest held at Main Gate

Youmna Mroue & Dina Salem
Opinions Editor & News Editor

On Friday Nov. 24, the Board of Deans announced in an email to the AUB community that “the dean [of student affairs] has taken action to rescind the secondary disciplinary measures, while the dean’s warnings will remain in place,”  effectively overturning the decision to cancel the GAships of 13 graduate students.

According to Boldly G-AUB, the Board of Deans email presented students with a number of unfounded claims, including the assertion that several verbal warnings were given to students prior to the issuing of the Dean’s Warnings.

Boldly G-AUB’s statement in response to the Board of Deans email also made it clear that none of the 13 students “submitted an appeal of the Dean’s Warnings or the revocation of GAs.”

On Nov. 27, dozens gathered outside AUB’s main gate for a protest in support of Boldly G-AUB and their demands. Participants included students from AUB, Saint Joseph University (USJ), Lebanese American University (LAU), and Lebanese International University (LIU), Lebanese University (LU), as well as AUB alumni.

“Students were finally capable and aware that they needed to be united to demand their rights, regardless of which university or club,” said Bachar Bahsoun, a member of the Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth, one of the organizing bodies of the solidarity protest.

Security forces surrounded the premises prior to the start of the protest. Participants held banners that read “The students are the university” and “Admin silences ‘legitimate student representatives’”, in reference to the statement made by the student members of the USFC on Nov. 25, which was retracted the following morning for reasons that have yet to be known and clarified.

“As elected student representatives, our priority has been ensuring that this incident does not set a precedent which threatens freedom of speech and assembly on campus,” the statement read.

The message from the student members of the USFC also mentioned that a prior statement in support of student demands, which was drafted following a meeting held on Nov. 21, had been rejected by the Dean of Student Affairs, Talal Nizameddin, PhD.

Boldly G-AUB has witnessed a massive wave of support over the last week, after 13 of its members received Dean’s Warnings for setting up a tent at the doors of College Hall.

The Department of Fine Arts and Art History, on Nov. 27, released a statement of support and solidarity with AUB’s graduate students, and endorsed Boldly G-AUB’s three demands to reinstate and increase GA stipends, expand the time span of the GA contracts, and waiver all additional University fees.

Boldly G-AUB is overwhelmed by the incredible support and solidarity it is receiving both inside the University and outside of it,” said their latest statement.

“We believe this marks the beginning of much needed cross-university solidarity, whereby students support each other’s demands for fairness in student issues and labor policies.”

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