It is safe to say that the 2019-2020 academic year has been a very stressful road for Lebanon’s students, especially for the students of the state-run Lebanese University.
All year long, they have shared their frustrations and concerns over unreasonable regulations on social media.
Now, the university just released a statement warning against online complaining when it comes to its decisions. Students who wish to register for the academic year of 2020-2021 are asked to pledge to abide by that new rule that oppresses their freedom of expression.
In the official document, which has been circulating online, the University asked newly enrolling students to respect the institution’s reputation by emailing the university with their complaints instead of resorting to social media.
Needless to point out that this new rule was badly received by the Lebanese society in general and the youth in particular for being oppressive to the freedom of expression.
And, ironically so, it gave rise to complaints currently circulating social media.
Throughout the past academic year, LU students had quite a bit to complain about, from elongated semesters to exams during the pandemic, and so on, even complaints directly addressed to the Education Ministry on Twitter.
Lebanese University students now have to silently endure any decision of their university they feel controversial so that the institution maintains a stable reputation.
That includes losing what has become for the youth around the world a channel of expression and moral support. And the youth of Lebanon need it today more than ever.
Oppression of freedom of expression, including coercing people into silence, has been alarmingly more and more relevant in the country.
Enforced on street demonstrations, online protests, local media and reporters, and now the students of the state-run university, that violation of a basic human right has become highly unsettling.
When it comes to the youth, it is even more disturbing that they are taught by enforced rules to shut up and yield whatever their grievances.
After all, these are the future generation that will partake in the governance of the country’s affairs and businesses, which we seek to be transparent, as we seek a future Lebanon with rulers and policy-makers who cannot be coerced into silence but who can speak up and stand up for what’s right and just.
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