BEIRUT: The Lebanese American University announced its annual student body council on Friday afternoon, capping off a grueling day of voting that started at the break of dawn.
Of nearly 7,000 undergraduate students, 5,913 cast their votes through an e-voting system provided by the university.
As a shared-governance model, LAU gives their undergraduate students the right to be represented by a Student Council that voices their needs and complaints. The 15 students elected are offered a seat on the roundtable to influence major decision makers regarding policies.
The student candidates were offered a forum to introduce themselves to the voters and announce their goals for the year. This forum relayed the runners’ campaigns to the attendees and hosted three movements, which the candidates branched from.
The three movements presented a smaller spectrum of what happens in the real political sphere within Lebanon. Politics was evident in the elections as the March 14 alliance was represented by a group called Step Forward, the March 8 alliance was represented by a group named Sawa, and the independent community was represented by an assemblage of students known as Ghayyir, which translates to “Change.”
Polling ended at 4:00 p.m. and both LAU campuses were cleared from students who didn’t have classes or on-campus duties. The two campuses were connected via video conference, and LAU President Joseph Jabbra was present along with Vice President Elise Salem; Vice President of Human Resources and University Services; Roy Majdalani, the Dean of students, Assistant Vice President of IT Camille Abou Nasr, and representatives from LADE, organizers noted.
LAU invited the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) to ensure that the elections were as transparent as possible. LADE provides input on drafting LAU's electoral law, announces candidates, ensures calm during election day, and reports on students and movements who go against the electoral law, Diana El Baba noted to LAU News.
Once the results were announced, the list of winning candidates was sent to students via email.
In Beirut campus, the results exhibited the victory of Karine Beydoun, Lamis Noureddine, Karim Fakhoury, Rawan El Mousharafieh, Abdullah Malaeb, Karen Kanaan, Abdul Rahman Mousalli, Nader Abou Mrad, Ali Abdel Baki, Omar Al Tannir, Tia Mdeihli, Renata Chantiri, Hussein Abdel Al Nabi, Karim Hashem and Hadi Saade, who broke the LAU record with 405 votes.
In Byblos, winners were Elie Chahine, Anthony Jabre, Rayan Najd, Edwin Feghali, Georges Jreij, Chana Abi Akl, Tarek El Chidiac, Jhonny Hatem, Lea Nader, Jean Selwan, Mohammad Takkoush, Karl Abbouchy, Rita Halal, Rana Sbeity and Malkon Malkon.
The end results in Beirut were seven seats for Step Forward, March 14; five for Sawa, March 8; and three for Ghayyir, the independents. In Byblos, ten seats went for March 14 and five for March 8.
LAU Students Take on the Elections
According to Yasmeen Sakka, a TV/Film undergraduate, the elections this year exceed those of years gone by given the effort put forth by the different campaigns to present their agendas through campaigning.
“The aims of the majority of the candidates were very relatable this year, unlike the previous elections where students ran just for the sake of it,” said Sakka. “I felt that the results were fair, given the diversity in representations.”
Manal Makkieh, a social work undergraduate, praised the high voter turnout witnessed this year, which estimated at 80 percent, proving the "students' eagerness to participate in the democratic process."
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