The tide of secularism continues to sweep through the universities in Lebanon with now the Notre-Dame University’s Secular Club demanding the rights for democratic student elections.
The NDU Secular Club, which describes itself as “an independent political club that advocates for secularism, social justice, democracy, and all types of freedoms,” accused their administration of not facilitating fair student elections.
“We as Lebanese students have been facing several hardships due to the corrupt government that is trying to take the last thing we have, our education,” the team behind the NDU Secular Club wrote on social media.
They accused their administration of ignoring their emails and messages regarding fair student elections, demanding that students be democratically represented moving forward in their academic journey.
“There is no excuse for not holding student elections as soon as possible. We will not be silent against the inconsiderate administration’s decision that affects the students alone,” they added.
According to them, the current student union at NDU has been the same for two consecutive years and does not represent the students anymore. Therefore, they deem its continuation unethical with no democratic measures for renewal.
NDU has continued its academic and non-academic activities punctually online as it does every year. However, the administration has been apparently unresponsive when it comes to a call for student elections, although the NDU Secular Club has been demanding it since the beginning of 2020’s academic year.
Now, they are pressing further with their demands, even launching a petition online. This comes after multiple universities in Lebanon undertook their student elections where independents and advocates for secularism scored historical wins in each university.
At the Lebanese American University, they won all the seats they ran for; 9 out of 15 seats (Beirut campus) and 5 out of the 15 (Byblos campus). They also won the popular vote with some 52 percent.
At Rafik Hariri University, they took 4 out of a total of 9 seats last month, up from 0 every year before.
Just last week, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) marked a massive victory for the independents who secured the majority of seats in 18 out of the 19 faculties/councils, with the majority of the winners being from the USJ secular club.
History has never seen such results at each university in Lebanon, showcasing a reflection of the immense changes in the sectarian mindset embedded in Lebanon.
Student representation is the right of all students, including at the NDU which Secular Club has been fighting, for a while now, for demands that benefit all the students in the university.
Accordingly, the club just launched a petition in pursuit of their demands of a democratic process they deem lacking in their university.