A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

a tale of two universities

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on May 12, 2008

The two major American universities in Beirut have issued their take on the current situation here (which is still a mess – despite a major workout this morning, I am still fully grumpy about the utter vacuum of leadership in this country and its wretched consequences). Each has posted its statement on its website and, so I understand, has sent the same information to faculty, students, and staff by email.

Here is what LAU has to say about the situation:

Dearest LAU family: Faculty, Students, and Staff,

We are writing to greet you. We hope that you and your families are all safe. Your safety is uppermost on our mind. As we promised, we are writing to update you on new LAU developments. This morning, the President, Vice Presidents, and Deans, met to assess the current situation in the country and its impact on LAU. In light of that assessment, the following decisions were made:

1. Faculty and Staff. For tomorrow, May 13, the University, with both of its campuses in Beirut and in Byblos, will be open. We ask our faculty and staff to use their judgment before coming to work, taking into consideration road conditions and their personal safety. If in your judgment, you feel that you can’t come to work for safety considerations, please don’t do so.

2. Faculty and Students. There will be no classes for tomorrow, May 13, 2008.

With respect to this matter, we would like to re-assure our students and their parents, that the University will make sure that our students will complete the semester, so that those students who will fulfill the requirements for graduation can graduate on time, and the others can complete successfully the semester’s coursework and move on to the next year in their advancement toward graduation. We are in the process of planning a make-up schedule for all classes lost and we will inform our students accordingly and in due time.

We will be meeting on a daily basis and will keep you informed of new developments. Please be safe with your families and loved ones. We hope and pray that the political and security situation will begin to stabilize and the Lebanese leaders will come to a consensus and settle their differences soon, so that we all can resume our normal lives.

With our best wishes,

Joseph G. Jabbra

Its a personal communication from the university president, using terms of affection and placing human lives as the university’s top priority.

Here is what AUB, the country and perhaps the region’s most venerable university, has to say:

The American University of Beirut will resume classes as soon as conditions permit. The University will, as of that point, make arrangements to complete the second semester and help students make up for missed work. Medical students are expected to attend to their duties throughout.

Regular full-time employees and workers at AUB are expected to attend to their duties as normally scheduled. As on previous similar occasions, any day of absence will be charged towards days of regular vacation to be deducted from the employee’s earned annual leave.

AUB’s statement is an impersonal communication that puts the university’s (and its affiliated hospital’s) staff needs first.

I haven’t been overly impressed with graduates of either university, but if I had been one of them, I would be much prouder at this moment to have LAU as my alma mater.


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