Lebanese University med students have taken upon themselves to volunteer at Rafic al-Hariri hospital to help with the coronavirus situation. The virus has so far infected four people in Lebanon, which drove several countries, such as Bahrain, to suspend all flights to and from the country.
However, while the med students were busy volunteering at the hospital, the university, which is the only public university in the country, made some surprising administrative changes to the medical faculty of political consequences.
The president of the university reportedly assigned new heads for the divisions in the med faculty, all affiliated to two political parties: 12 from Al-Zahra Hospital who are affiliated with the Amal movement of Speaker Berri, and the rest from Geitawi Hospital who are affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement of Gebran Bassil.
The decision is highly controversial because of the political implications of the deal, the way it was done, and the fact that “it doesn’t take into consideration the qualifications of the appointed professors,” as stated by students, staff, and revolutionaries.
The med students had been awaiting that they would be given their own training hospital and that they would be given better funding on the account of the high reputation already built by doctor-professors known for their scientific achievements.
According to them, some of the new appointees are not even qualified to participate in the international scientific conferences that take place twice a month, which will lead the medical department to lose research opportunities, and away from what is happening in the scientific field.
“Most of them are non-academic,” the med students complain, upset by “the exclusion of the qualified and the designation of non-encouraging names,” according to Al-Akhbar.
From his side, the head of the medical faculty, Pierre Yared, had declined to comment on the situation, but the Lebanese University’s website states that it was Yared who forwarded the names of the appointees to President Fouad Ayoub.
These assignments by political interference came as a shock to the students. They claim that the university’s president used his power to make “the deal” since the term of the university’s board had ended, hence it’s deemed dissolved.
From his side, Ayoub denies the allegations. He shared that he had requested the appointment of new heads for the med department because some existing heads had been long in charge, “from 7 to 12 years.”
He pointed out that the ongoing campaign against these appointments “is nothing more than a distortion of the good reputation of the university.”
Nevertheless, the appointments of political partisans are there to state an undeniable fact. It is no coincidence that they all happen to be affiliated with two political parties, which, in plus, are opposing the revolution that is seeking reforms.
Correction – (02/03/2020): We previously reported that Professor Pierre Yared had no knowledge of the appointees and that the decision to appoint was a joint decision by President Fouad Ayoub and the Associate Dean Youssef Faris. However, upon being presented with new information from the admin of the Neuroscience Research Center (NRC) that the claims are false, we reflected this in the corrections above.
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