Three weeks ago, AUB student elections seemed to be “hanging in the balance.” Somehow, the university managed to have them on time, despite a questionable electoral law. Students ultimately accepted the absurd electoral law – announced on November 10 and changed on November 16 – and participated in the elections. One would think that the student body would have seen enough absurdity for one semester but it appears not. It seems that the administration cannot even follow the rules it announces itself. Ladies and gentlemen, it is once gain the case of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (FEA).
On November 10, the first electoral law announcement was made. For FEA, it simply stated: “3 USFC seats are allocated.”
On November 16, a day before nominations, the second electoral law announcement was made. The change was just in FEA. It stated: “3 USFC seats are allocated. In FEA 1 seat is open to all students (including engineering undergraduates, architecture, graphic design and graduates) and 2 seats will be open for nominations from undergraduate engineering only (excluding architecture, graphic design and graduates).”
The Candidates for the 3 FEA-USFC seats are:
Candidate, Year, Nomination
- Ali Ayoub, Engineering IV, FEA Undergraduate
- Cesar Bteish, Engineering III, FEA Undergraduate
- Kamal Mahfouz, Engineering II, FEA
- Mohamad El Khatib, Engineering II, FEA
- Monah Beaini, Engineering III, FEA Undergraduate
- Reem Nassour, Architecture III, FEA
- Thierry Boulos, Engineering IV, FEA Undergraduate
- Tony Narciss, Engineering IV, FEA Undergraduate
Tony Narciss is an example of one engineering undergraduate who nominated himself for the USFC. Narciss campaigned for days on end with all FEA students: engineering undergraduates but also architecture, graphic design, and graduate students. On Election Day, architecture, graphic design, and graduate students did not even have the option to vote for Narciss. They only had the choice to vote for 3 candidates for the USFC: Kamal Mahfouz, Mohamad El Khatib, and Reem Nassour, two of whom (Khatib and Mahfouz) were engineering undergrads. The engineering undergrads, on the other hand, had the option to vote for all 8 candidates listed above, including the 3 also offered to architecture, graphic design, and graduates. Many students can attest that this is in fact what the electronic voting system offered them (only a choice of 3 out of the 8 names). Eleven of them, below, are willing to publicly testify to this.
- Andrea Comair – Architecture III
- Betina Abi Habib – Architecture IV
- Farah Mazyad – Graphic Design II
- Ibrahim Abdelghany – Engineering Graduate
- Karen Madi – Architecture III
- Karma Makki – Architecture II
- Mario Khoury – Architecutre III
- Mohamad Nahleh – Architecture III
- Ramzey Marrouche – Graphic Design I
- Serge Saab – Architecture III
- Souha Bou Matar – Architecture III
The November 16 announcement stated that 2 seats would be open for nominations for engineering undergraduates only, but nowhere did it say that those seats would be voted upon by engineering undergraduates only. This is what the second announcement states; not more, not less. This is how candidates ran their campaigns, and this is how students expected to vote.
Electoral laws are judged based on the official university announcements and not on any informal conversations held between random students and the Dean of Student Affairs. Many students like Andrea and Betina above arrived to AUB on November 27, showed their ID at the various checkpoints inside the Bechtel building, went behind the curtain with the intention of voting for 3 out of the 8 candidates. What they got instead was only a choice between three. The least students should expect of their university is an administration that enforces the laws that it announces itself. The least FEA students should ask for is a re-vote in their USFC elections. Unfortunately, following the letter of the law seems like too big of an ask these days.