Newsweek Magazine 1970
According to a reporter, “Politics at AUB today is tied directly to the Palestinian guerrilla movement… The aggressive young men and women who spring from AUB appear torn between admiration for their American-Style education and distrust of the country that offers it.
‘Of course we reject American foreign policy and the capitalist mentality of most Americans,’ an AUB student who doubles as a guerrilla group leader said recently. ‘But we have also learned to respect a culture that gives rebels even the right to think and say what they want. If there should be a Palestinian state run by us, it would be anti-imperialist, anti-Washington and anti-bourgeois. But I don’t believe it would be truly anti-American.’”
1971: The 28 day sit-in:
Excerpts: Day to Day Rundown of Developments
Monday 10 May
The three-man Student Affairs Committee (composed of Committee Chairman Elie Salem, Provost Samir Thabet and Dean of Students Robert Najemy) reveals to 15 student representatives…that the Administration has decided to raise tuition fees by 10 per cent starting with the academic years subsequent to 1971-72.
Tuesday 11 May
The Student Council holds its weekly meeting in West Hall and takes a unanimous decision late in the evening to issue a statement Wednesday, May 12, calling for an open strike starting Thursday, May 13, to protest the unilateral and surprise decision of the Administration.
Wednesday 12 May
The Student Council issues a statement protesting the 10 percent increase tuition fees to be effective next semester… The Student Council statement goes on to call for an open strike starting Thursday, May 13 until the President of this University comes out with a clear cut statement in which he:
1. Declares the cancellation of the 10 percent increase in tuition fees.
2. Announces his readiness to negotiate with the Student Council the possibility of reasonable decreases in the current tuition fees.
3. Declares his acceptance of the Student Council demands to investigate the books of the University at the Comptroller’s Office to see whether there are reasonable grounds for decrease in current tuition fees.
Thursday 13 May
AUB students start the open strike by abstaining from classes. Busloads of Squad 16 policemen remain parked off campus for the whole day. Tight security measures stall University entrances filter students, faculty and members of the Administration and non-academic staff only into campus. Others are prevented from coming in…
Friday 14 May
Scores of students congregate outside West Hall at 10 a.m. on this second day of strike and march on to College Hall where they stage a two-hour sit-in…The sit-in at College Hall, where most of the Administration offices are found, is seen as an escalation of the open strike, the students close the doors of College Hall thus making it impossible for members of the administration to enter or to leave the building…
[Speaking on behalf of the Student Council, Bassam] Diab goes on to say in the name of the Student Council: ‘…the intended increases would have adverse effects on economic and social conditions in Lebanon – they would increase obstacles for the lower and middle income groups to join the university and would accelerate the rise in cost of living in Lebanon.’
Saturday 15 May
The strike enters its third day running without incident. The ‘Voice of the Students’ broadcasts from West Hall statements calling for reversal of the Administration decision.”
Academic Program Is Suspended…
Following ‘No Vote’ to Proposals and Occupation of Jessup, Fisk Halls, Including Office of the Dean; Maher Masri: ‘It’s Just What We Expected!’”
President Samuel B. Kirkwood suspended last night the AUB academic program for the year 1970-71. His move, according to Student Council President Maher Masri, was ‘just what the students expected.’
It came a few hours after the students had embarked on their ‘creeping occupation’ by midnight of Jessup and Fisk Halls, including the office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences…
‘In Jessup Hall,’ said Masri, ‘the office of the dean has become the office of the students.’
As of Wednesday morning all of the medical students from the first, second, third and fourth years will go on strike.
11 October1971: Proving our mettle
Letter to Studentsfrom the Student Council
The Administration has been able to describe the strike and its underlying motivations as ‘political’ in nature. Some administrators claimed the strike was part of the tug-of-war on campus between the Right and the Left. Others associated it with the movement to liberate Palestine. Some administrators referred to it as a Zionist-inspired plot to close down the University. Others passed the word that it was directed against the AUB workers and tourism in Lebanon…etc.
We, the students, were able to prove our mettle throughout the 28-day strike and as recently as last Saturday, October 9, when we turned the NSP ( Nutrition Science Program) Farm Trip into a demonstration of solidarity with our 22 colleagues who have been suspended from the University.
In recent days, we expressed our dismay over the reprisal measures taken by the Administration to suffocate the voice of the students through the display of posters; the organization of fund drives and sessions of the Speaker’s Corner; the endorsement of an appeal for reintegration of the suspended students by over 1,200 of their colleagues; the rendition of ‘strike songs’ such as ‘We Ahall [sic] Overcome’ and ‘O Freedom’ at the Hangout Party and the Farm Trip; and the financing of LOOKOUT…etc.
Student participation in the University’s educational and administrative affairs should become part of the students’ education. Needless to say that student participation should be built on the premise of freedom and democracy.