Finally some good news. I just read in Al Ghad that the University of Jordan will hold full and democratic student elections this year instead of appointing half of the council. This came after Adnan Badran, the former prime minister and the current head of the National Center for Human Rights has sent a letter to the university’s administration asking them to do so.
Well its about time..
This “appointment” business was a real shame. We’re telling our youth “we don’t trust you to be democratic so we’re going to appoint half of your council and the head of the council as well”. What a joke.
I studied in the University of Jordan from 1988 to 1996 (yes it took me around 8 years to get my bachelors degree!). We always had full elections. It was only later that the democratic rights of the students were withdrawn and the appointment policy introduced.
During my days, the university administration did not allow students to form official blocks and only allowed them to compete in the elections as individuals. This resulted in a council was 90% dominated by the “Islamist” movement, which, at the time, was incredibly on the rise. Their “individuals” in their unofficial Islamist block used to get the highest votes and thus win almost all seats. You can imagine what a student council dominated by one political party looks like.. Very mono colored. They were totally conservative of course and they allowed no one to come up with any activities or ideas that do not conform to their ideology.
From personal experience, I know that had the elections been held on the basis of blocks and not individuals, competing blocks could have reaped up to 30% of the vote, which at least would have added some color to the council. At that time the “leftist” parties were in full retreat. There used to be another block called “Watan” which was widely seen as a puppet of the government. But there were interesting experiments here and there of democratic, moderate, seculars and liberals banding together and making some noise in the elections. Some independents sometimes won too.
These memories take me back to the mid 1990’s, i.e more than 13 years ago. It would be interesting to see what the students of the University of Jordan will do, now that they have their council back..