USJ elections: a double-edged sword

The long anticipated time has arrived and the wait has finally come to an end. After two years of illegal repression of democracy in the country and at USJ, the university’s rector Salim Daccache confirmed on the 13th of October that “the student elections will take place by the end of November if the students are able to maintain a certain level of discipline”.
That indeed is a big if, considering the barbaric events that took place in Huvelin two years ago: Two “teams”, each representing a political coalition, turned the Social Sciences Campus into a Royal Rumble in which the “winner” gained absolutely nothing other than a somehow satisfying illusion that his party “owns” the targeted campus. Whether at the time this chaos was mindful or mindless, its aftermath was far from being negligible. All it did was harm the university’s reputation, disrupt the electoral process, and lead a hefty amount of enrolled USJ students to dispute the return of the student body council. Their concern is surely understandable, considering that their safety was put at risk.

However, the suspension of the elections is extreme. Depriving students from their right to vote would be fighting fire with fire which will definitely lead to a dead end. USJ is known for its steamy elections and such an exemplary experience should be preserved. The dilemma resides in the mentality of some radicals whose idolization of our so called leaders leaves them blind and senseless. Moreover, restraining the elections did a lot more bad than good. First, it gave a bad image of the students, the board and the university in general. It showed that USJ undergraduates can’t handle the responsibility that comes with the ability to vote; that they’re in need of constant monitoring to practice their rights, which is as far away from the truth as it gets. Second, the decision came as a precautionary measure after a dispute at NDU that wasn’t related in any means to our university. It was very disappointing to sense the lack of trust of the university’s directors towards the students. Student elections have been going on for years in about ten USJ locations and one or two isolated events shouldn’t have led to such drastic measures.

USJ is an eminent leader in the legal domain and has fought for freedom during the country’s darkest times; therefore, suspending the elections lacked basis and was contradictory. Student elections are the correlate of freedom of expression and are the last drop of democracy we have left in the country. We should cherish them and hold on to them tightly and then maybe, just maybe, the positive vibes will rub off on the parliamentary elections.
Rosy Kefrawi
Second year Law student

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