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Friday, 14th December 2018

The Student Union will not support or participate in this year’s SU elections

Posted on 24. Oct, 2011 by in News

The GUC Student Union has decided not to participate nor support this year’s SU elections in reply to the GUC administration’s decision not to implement the new suggested SU bylaws and constitution, the SU has announced in an online statement today.

Professor Laila Mahran, the GUC Vice President for Student Affairs, stressed that GUC University Council and the Board of Trustees first have to approve – in their nearest meeting in March 2012 – the new bylaws drafted by the current SU even if approved by the students through a referendum. SU Elections will be held this year with the same current bylaws.

GUC SU President Ahmed Wafik during a stand on June 9

The SU in its statement took pride in describing the Student Union as ‘an independent entity that is not owned by the administration’ pointing out further that ‘neither the Board of Trustees nor the University Council should have the authority to approve or disapprove the bylaws’ and that the University Council’s role in reviewing the bylaws should merely be an ‘advisory’ one, which is to indicate if any articles of their suggested bylaws do not comply with the university policy.

The current GUC short-termed SU (planned to stay only for six months: May 2011 – November 2011) has worked in the past few months on re-writing the SU bylaws and setting up a new SU structure, considering them among the main objectives of the first SU. The original plan was to put the suggested bylaws through a referendum where all students could vote whether the new bylaws should be implemented or not, before they are used in the next SU elections.

The SU requested starting with the student referendum followed by the elections this year based on the referendum results. Such request was officially declined today and the administration decided to proceed with this year’s elections, starting by receiving candidate registrations online.

The last – and only – Student Union elections the GUC had earlier this year had a turnout percentage of only 20%, which lead to more than 55 representative seats to be empty, many of them due to not reaching the legal percentage of number of voters. Since the GUC administration decided to proceed with the elections this year, the fact that there is opposition from the current SU leads to very negative predictions for these elections, and represents a challenge for the GUC administration that will seek to secure giving the next SU the legitimacy it needs.

GUC SU first elections in April 2011 had a turnout of 20%

The story begins after student protests broke out allover the campus in March 2011 demanding the creation of a Student Union. Being unable to reach consensus from both sides on the bylaws that were proposed by the university during that time of tension seven months ago, the GUC administration suggested a compromise which was creating a short term SU (the one we currently have) according to the presented bylaws and working later on modifying them before the next SU elections.

The released Student Union statement in part blames the GUC administration for not inviting its representatives to present the newly suggested bylaws and constitution at the Council and the Board of Trustees’ meeting held earlier on October 1st, leading to the current dilemma of waiting for the next one in five months.

Ahmed Hassan, an elected SU representative wrote on his online blog describing the events back in March:

The GUC offered the establishment of the Student Union with no power at all based on defective bylaws with nothing to do but organize parties and events (something they did not even cooperate with them to do).

Mostafa Sheshtawy, an elected SU representative and now a graduate, goes further to assume there is a conspiracy plan behind it. He wrote on his online blog:

Here is how the Administration thinks in my opinion, This SU’s main task was to make new bylaws and structure, if we manage to make this not work, then students will lose faith in the idea behind a “student union”..

The SU declared that their position and future actions regarding the matter will be decided in collaboration with the student body and student societies.

Posted tweets on the hashtag #GUCStrike on Twitter that became active after the recent escalation showed that some students are excited and motivated, others are asking about what’s going on, and others chose to actively (rather than passively by not contributing) voice that they don’t care about the issue.


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