Lebanon News

Students oppose reopening universities

Students at the Lebanese University campus in Hadath, Feb. 18, 2015. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: All Lebanese universities should reopen on Wednesday, Education Minister Akram Chehayeb said in a statement released Tuesday.

From the very first day, students have been deeply involved in the protests that have swept across the country. Following Chehayeb’s announcement, student groups have been discussing ways to oppose the decision.

Marian Rajha, head of the independent club at Notre Dame University – Louaize, told The Daily Star, “This is an obvious attempt by our politicians to pressure students and get them off the streets.”

However, the president of Lebanese University, Dr. Fouad Ayoub, had already decided to reopen before Chehayeb’s announcement had been made.

Mohamad Ghazal, president of LU’s Sama Club at the Faculty of Business posted on Facebook, “The students are not machines who study and live outside of society, Mr. President. Not at all. The students should be on the frontline and lead the revolution ... Students, to the streets we go.”

Ghazal told The Daily Star on Tuesday, “We asked students and, especially, professors to be on strike tomorrow.”

A representative of students at LU said, “Tomorrow we shall, with students and some professors, do everything we can to stop classes in all Lebanese University branches ... You can consider that tomorrow is a usual strike day and not a usual school day.”

They added that the student councils at LU, which are mostly affiliated with Amal and Hezbollah, are encouraging students to go to classes tomorrow.

Wafaa Noun, a professor at LU, posted on Facebook, “My students, there will be no classes or labs tomorrow because of the current situation that the people have called for in their name ... I hope I meet you at the protest squares, so that you can give us lessons in freedom, so that you can hail our hopes and dreams with a better tomorrow.”

Opposed to Chehayeb’s decision, Saint Joseph University in Beirut will be closed Wednesday. Verena El Amil, president of the USJ secular Club, said, “We stand in solidarity with our fellow students at other universities and we denounce such a decision by the minister.”

The administration of Lebanese American University announced that it will close Wednesday, but intends to resume operations on Thursday.

Nevertheless, some of its students have decided to block the roads at the entrance of Hamra’s main street.

“We will close the roads at 6:30 a.m. ... so that we prevent people from going to work in a very civilized way,” Rawad Taha said.

Meanwhile, an agreement was reached at American University of Beirut that classes would be canceled on Wednesday, although the university itself would be open.

“We have reached an agreement ... that because of security reasons, classes will not be held,” said Dany Rasheed, president of AUB Secular Club.





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