Student elections are coming up at AUB, and the LA Times blog has a little write up about them here. I left a comment there, which hasn’t shown up so far, so I’ll post it here as well:
There are a few things that should be mentioned concerning the elections at AUB.
1. Explicit party affiliation is not allowed. The students come up with names that serve as fronts for outside parties, in contrast with USJ, for example, where students campaign under the name of their respective parties.
2. There is a growing movement of independents, which last year actually did quite well for itself, considering the context within which the elections are held. (Here’s a link for how they did in the Medical faculty in 2006.) Although one must keep in mind that some independents reportedly make deals with parties to align with them.
3. Many foreign students (at least the Palestinians and Jordanians) form coalitions with either of the main blocs, promising to deliver, for example, all their votes in one race in exchange for all their votes in another. I haven’t figured out exactly what they gain by this, but I know it happens every year. There’s also a good chance that the Saudi and Gulf students (and perhaps the Syrians) do the same thing.
All in all, the student elections at AUB seem to only be about a show of power by one political group or another on campus. After the elections, which usually end in some sort of brawling, are done, you never hear about student government again. Or at least not until elections come around the next year.