The Workers and Staff Syndicate of the American University of Beirut released a statement that began with: “AUB was founded in Beirut in 1896 by Daniel Bliss, this great man who immigrated from his country to Lebanon and his goal was to establish a humanitarian institution.”
“This institution’s first and last goal is to serve people and help the poor,” the statement said. “The university has followed for more than 150 years the path that Bliss drew, taking the slogan “Let them have a life… a better life”.”
The syndicate went on to describe all the struggles and obstacles that AUB overcame over the years, like wars, calamities, sectarian divisions, invasions, etc.
Hundreds of thousands of employees gave their entire lives for the university: “They served with dedication and sacrificed in order for AUB to survive, continue, and develop until it became ‘the pearl of the East’ in the fields of medicine, science, knowledge, and humanity.”
The syndicate explained the situation as bluntly as possible, citing all the reasons that led to the deterioration of the country and the university facing staff cut:
“Today, in the year 2020, after 154 years of its foundation, and in this delicate circumstance that we live, after the bankruptcy and plunder of the country, and the theft of its money and the money of retirees and widows, and in light of the cries and moans of children, parents and the vulnerable, AUB’s administration comes under the title of the financial crisis to inform us of the disbursement of more than 1500 employees and workers.”
As the syndicate pointed out, the layoff of these 1500 employees has now raised the number of unemployed Lebanese, finding themselves helpless on how to secure a living for their families and themselves.
The syndicate declared its refusal to the dismissing of any employee or worker at this particular time: “We refuse that employees and workers bear the responsibility and pay the price for errors committed against this institution.”
They called on the university’s president, Fadlo Khury, to protect the hundreds of innocent employees.
They then stressed that the syndicate will face “these collective massacres” intended to be committed against their colleagues and that they will resort to legal references to protect them.
And in the end, the syndicate added: “Our country is experiencing the worst stage in its history, but we all hope that our unity and our solidarity will enable us to overcome this stage with the least possible damage.”