Dear AUB Community,

The current members of No Frontiers have democratically decided to boycott this year’s student elections at AUB. This is not coming from a position of apathy, but rather from the all too familiar knowledge and experience that working within the formal parameters set forth by the administration simply does not work in improving the real lives of our students.

The system of student governance is not a true representation of democracy and is in fact a tool of the administration’s to sedate the student voice. The dean of student affairs openly allows the participation of non-elected student political party members in his own decisions on how student elections will take place each year – note: the past 2 election cycles have been totally illegal in every aspect of the matter.

Of course, all of these revelations are widely known and have proven time and again to allow students to make a mockery of democracy. The administration exploits and counts on the external tensions of the greater Lebanese political sphere to nullify any possible real space of student cohesion. We now realize that to ignore this delusional reality we are merely puppets dancing from the administration’s strings. We deserve better, this is not the only way, and we must now insist on a new discourse that is on our terms as students.

In Solidarity
NF

Yesterday students peacefully organized a strike at the Lebanese American University (LAU) after the administration dismissed their petition, containing over 4,500 names, refusing to address this year’s dramatic tuition increase. Rather than respect freedom of speech or engage in civic dialogue, 4 students were suspended on the grounds that “the organizers psychologically pressured professors, pushing them to support the strike and stop classes for one hour.”[1] These acts baldly expose the administration’s disregard for promoting LAU as a space for higher learning as suppressing free thought is apparently an acceptable practice for those who question.

No Frontiers admires and supports the students who courageously stood up for their rights yesterday. Criticism surrounding tuition increase goes beyond transparency of fiscal expenditures, just as higher education goes beyond receiving a mere diploma. This is an issue of structured exploitation cheapening the academic experience by perpetuating a punitive culture meant to sway those who refuse the status quo. The acts yesterday were about self- realizing new ways of being, an inherent human quality universities are suppose to cultivate, not subvert.  Is LAU’s administration so lacking in innovative resolution? Are they so threatened by student civic engagement their first reaction is to silence it? Other tactics, more dignified and more creative, are to be expected from academia. LAU ADMINISTRATION, YOUR STUDENTS DESERVE BETTER.

 Dear AUB community,

As many are aware, the AUB administration raised tuition for the 2013 student body by 6%. These acts are discomforting when considering two factors; the administration formally agreed to nothing more than a 4% increase each year and students were not given so much as an email to inform them.  Furthermore, these acts have been met with blame- shifting, stating the increase is due to a raise in financial aid and inflation.  Justifiably, the legitimacy of the decisions made are under scrutiny. No Frontiers is concerned if the administration is actually serving its students when disregarding them in such matters. With the same reasoning used for 2010’s dramatic increase, we are questioning if this argument holds true and is justifiable now. In response, No Frontiers is currently mobilizing with other student groups and clubs. Collectively, we are demanding two things 1) tuition to be decreased to last year’s rates by next semester and 2) transparency in where student money is being spent. Strategies include an on-going petition with over 3,000 signed names and current negotiations. So far the climate is positive. 

However, we realize the issues of tuition increase and lack of transparency have been an on-going struggle and are not unique to AUB. We are in solidarity to all demanding dignity within an academic context. Because the administration is consistently unclear in translating this information to the public, No Frontiers, along with other independent student movements, student clubs, faculty and alumni are committed to gathering information and diffusing it in a tangible way. It is an ironic reality that such a progressive institution does not offer this information to students, forcing them to provide an alternative data source as a counter to what appears to be structured exploitation. Regardless, whether such acts are due to incompetence or deliberate deception, we are committed to advocating for student rights and will keep the public posted on future advancements. 

Best,
No Frontiers

تمر الفظائع التي ترتكب في بلدنا يومياً أمام أعيننا وكأنها فيلماً وثائقياً عن بلد آخر في مكان بعيد وزمن أبعد. أضحينا كتماثيل تشاهد أحداثاً أمامها… لا تأبه ولا تحرك ساكناً. “تعودنا” على رؤية المصائب تحل بأهلنا ومواطنينا ونحن نسهر في مناطقنا ونستمر في حياتنا اليومية كأن شيئاً لم يكن. حتى عندما نتابع الأخبار قليلاً أو نتحدث عنها، تتمحور الأمور دائماً حول الشخصيات الوضيعة المخلة بالأمن… لسبب ما، ننسى دائماً الأشخاص الذين يعيشون حالة حرب يومية، أكانوا في صيدا في الأيام التي مضت، أو في طرابلس والشمال الذي ما زال ينزف ويتألم.

نحن لسنا هنا لل-“تنظير” على سائر اللبنانيين. كل ما نريده هو تذكير أهلنا الطرابلسيين والصيداويين أنهم في بالنا دائماً، وأننا ندعمهم وحقهم في عيش آمن وهنيء. كما ونعتذر عن تقصيرنا الكبير في تقديم الدعم المادي لأسباب عديدة وخارجة عن سيطرتنا في معظم الأحيان.

.لا هناء لشعب عند ظلم بعضه. ونبقى متمسكين بأمل الدولة التي ستحميكم وايانا وتفرض القانون

The atrocities that are committed in our country happen daily before our eyes as if they were part of a documentary about a different country in a different time. We have become nothing more but statues in the face of these events, showing no emotions or reactions. We’ve become numb to the sightings of all the wrongdoings happen to our citizens and families; we continue with our daily lives as if nothing has happened. Even when we follow the news or talk about it, everything always revolves around the menial characters that threaten our security. For some reason, we tend to forget the people that are currently living in a war zone  be it the people living in Saida these past few days or the people living in Tripoli and the hurting north.

We are not writing this to preach. All we want to do is to remind our brothers and sisters in Tripoli and Saida that they are always on our minds and that we support them and their right to live peacefully and comfortably. Alas, we do realize that our physical support is quite limited due to several reasons that are mostly out of our control. For that reason, we sincerely apologize.

“None of us are free if one of us is chained” – Solomon Bur

 

Letter to the Editor:

Although we understand that there are far more pressing matters to talk about, i.e. Gaza, at this current time, it behooves us to address the faults in an Arabic article in the elections edition of Outlook that was released on election day. We are No Frontiers (NF) and we feel obliged to clarify a mistake made by Outlook in its coverage.

In the elections edition of Outlook, an Arabic article الانتخابات الأمريكية: نموذج في الديمقراطية (http://www.aub.edu.lb/sao/activities/outlook/archive/volume_45/issue_8/Pages/issue_8.aspx) was printed that said NF has external ties. This is simply not true. We wish to clearly state that No Frontiers is completely free from any external influences. We take this accusation seriously because in NF we make it a point to keep ourselves independent from all outside forces. Since 1997, No Frontiers has been an independent group comprised solely of students and we, current members, make it a point to perpetuate that principle. Members that graduate from AUB are no longer active members and no longer have voting rights. Actions undertaken by the group are completely devoid of any external political affiliation and in an effort to maintain a democratic structure, there is no hierarchy within the group and any decision taken by the group is voted on by the active members.

When we noticed the article stated that we had external ties, we felt a reply was necessary. On what basis this accusation was made, we are unaware, especially since two of our members, Mark Francis and Talal Naboulsi, were told by an Outlook staff writer that when said staff writer had asked other politicized groups if there were any true independents running for elections, they all mentioned No Frontiers and only No Frontiers. For some reason, this was not mentioned at all in the Arabic article.

If the accusation was based on the fact that we printed a newspaper and that printing newspapers costs money, then why weren’t we asked how we came up with the funds to print the newspapers? We would have gladly let it be known in the interview that No Frontiers had agreed with the printing press to pay off the amount due for the newspapers in installations, but we were never asked.

No Frontiers has a long history of independent activism dating back since its inception and has many achievements in these past 15 years, all for the benefit of the AUB student body. For all these reasons we are proud to say that we are members of No Frontiers and eager to continue contributing to its rich history during this academic year. We humbly ask that Outlook respects our right of response and publishes this letter to the editor in the coming edition.

-        No Frontiers

*Sent to the Outlook email mailbox on November 16, 2012 in reply to t

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

**Outlook’s decision to publish our letter is still pending approval from the Outlook Editor-in-Chief as well as discretionary approval from the Dean of Student Affairs, Talal Nizameddin. An errata clarifying what is referred to as “external ties” will be published in the forthcoming Outlook.

Outlook bylaws: Article V – Editorial Standards

“Outlook shall maintain a non-political and non-sectarian editorial policy stance. Its editorial policy shall further be guided by a commitment to impartial, fair and accurate reporting; a respect for the opinions of others; the publication of diverse views; and a reasonable right of reply.

Who we are :

Posted: August 13, 2012 in About

No Frontiers is a progressive leftist student organization that has no links to any political party. Since its establishment at the American University of Beirut in 1997, No Frontiers has embraced an active role concerning human rights and social justice through its engagement in the political, social, and cultural life at the university.
Read the rest of this entry »