In an email to the AUB community on Nov. 28, President Fadlo Khuri announced the revocation of the Dean’s Warnings, which were issued to 13 graduate students on Nov. 20.
The graduate students received the warnings after a tent was set up in front of College Hall as part of a larger movement by Boldly G-AUB to protest the cancellation of the GA stipends last May, and implement the group’s three demands.
The warnings initially included the annulment of the students’ GAs, but was later amended to allow them to maintain their scholarships, as outlined in an email sent by the Board of Deans on Nov. 24, following two major protests and an extensive response from local and international media.
For Boldly G-AUB, the repeal of the sanctions is not enough, as the group called for accountability.
“This news once again came without any appeal from the students, nor any prior communication with the group. Boldly G-AUB can only interpret it as an admission of the administration’s overreach, and fully expect that those responsible are held to account,” reads their statement.
During the University Student Faculty Committee (USFC) meeting on Nov. 21, an ad-hoc committee, comprised of USFC members and graduate Student Representative Committee (SRC) members, was formed. Members of the committee will work accordingly with Boldly G-AUB and the Graduate Student Society (GSS) for the development of a new GA policy.
The committee was announced in a statement made by the student members of the USFC on Nov. 25, which was retracted the following morning without clarification.
“For now we are relatively no longer in a rush since stipends were reinstated for Spring as well. It will be a work in progress even after implementing it next Fall, because if the administration’s estimations don’t apply, it will be adjusted accordingly,” said Vice President of the USFC, Myra Zeineddine
Graduate students from the USFC and SRC held a town hall on Nov. 29, where Associate Provost and Chair of the Graduate Council, Zaher Dawy, PhD, addressed his final proposal for a new GA policy, to be adopted in Spring 2018.
Dawy, who was delegated by the Office of the Provost to head the discussions with Boldly G-AUB, USFC and other constituents, proposed a policy with reduced working hours for GAs, without stipends. Students would have to work extra hours to earn the equivalence of the stipends from different sources.
“The GA policy is work in progress and continuously evolving with inputs from colleagues and students. The meeting was fruitful and provided an open platform for the student body to ask clarifying questions and make suggestions,” Dawy told Outlook.
New job opportunities will be introduced: Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), Graduate Administrative Assistant (GAA), and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA). These roles are meant to ensure the availability of extra work hours.
Zeineddine pointed to the weaknesses of Dawy’s proposal in that extra work opportunities are not uniformly available in all faculties. Also, students who do not receive extra work hours will not receive any money equivalent to the stipend.
According to a statement published by Boldly G-AUB, Dawy provided a verbal commitment to meet the group’s demand to extend the length of GA contracts.
Boldly G-AUB’s movement appears to still be in works, with a planned action on Dec. 5, announced on their Facebook page.
“After the troubling events of this semester, Boldly G-AUB calls for an action on AUB Founders’ Day to send a simple message to the University Administration: Our demands are still unmet, and we are going nowhere,” reads the event description.
Credits to Mohammed Hadi