After a strenuous and rather hyped-up period of student elections at AUB this year, the clubs of independents managed to win the biggest bloc for the first time at AUB, after an intense campaign that took aback the main political groups and compelled them to call for boycotting.
They didn’t succeed. The elections did take place and the independents scored a major victory.
The 12-year-old AUB secular club, or what falls under the name Campus Choice, won 9 out of 19 seats. As quoted by former AUB Secular Club president, Karim Safieddine, this was the “first time any group gains this much seats in AUB history.”
Another independent club, called Change Starts Here, which was formed in September, also scored a good number of seats – 6 out of 19, adding up to a sum total of 15 independent seats in the University Student Faculty Committee.
AUB elections happen as a proportionality system with lists, whereas lists gather certain thresholds in each faculty.
The AUB Secular Club got 2 seats for FAS (Faculty of Arts & Sciences), 2 for FEA (Faculty of Engineering), 1 for OSB (Business School), 1 for FHS (Faculty of Health), 2 for FAFS (Faculty of Food Science & Agriculture) and 1 for FM (Faculty of Medicine and Nursing).
The win, according to Karim Safieddine is “quite overwhelming.” He confidently explains that they have a “huge responsibility towards the students and a huge responsibility towards our society.”
He then states that the way they posed this challenge wasn’t about them being independent. “We’re a secular opposition group running against the ruling class which repressed the October 17 revolution and whose incompetency paved the way of the August 4th explosion.”
As for the new group Change Starts Here, the members gathered themselves during the October 17 uprising and began to grow through communicating with fellow independents.
They now hold 3 seats for FEA (Faculty of Engineering & Architecture), 1 seat for OSB (Faculty of Business), and 2 for FAS (Faculty of Arts & Sciences)
Mirna Kassem, the president of Change Starts Here, heartily expresses “when you see what happens on university grounds, it gives you an idea of what could happen on the macro scale. Our win shows that the independent scale is growing.”