Bethlehem University suspends classes following dispute with student body over fees

BETHLEHEM, For the first time in 45 years, Bethlehem University has suspended classes on Thursday until further notice following a dispute with the Student Council over course fees.

Bethlehem University communications officer, George Rishmawi, said that for the first time since its establishment in 1973, the university has suspended classes until further notice following the Student Council’s decision to disrupt studies due to dispute over training fees.

Although the university has not received $1.3 million of annual assistance from the Palestinian Authority, Rishmawi denied media reports singling out a funding shortfall as a reason for the suspension.

Representative of the Fatah-affiliated student bloc in the university, Mohammad Nofal, claimed that the reason of the current strike is a dispute that was supposedly settled two years ago.

According to Nofal, the dispute has emerged anew following the university’s administration’s decision to double the training fees for students enrolled in the Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences.

However, in a letter released Wednesday, the university’s Vice Chancellor Peter Bray argued that the cost to the students of the regular program of courses are worked out very carefully and we try to keep them as low as possible and that students pay less than half of what it costs to offer the courses and Bethlehem University finds the rest of the money from outside.

He also argued that the controversial training fees were put in place back in 2016 and will stay in place because the budget for the university includes them and all students paid them last year and have again paid them for this year.

The university’s administration expressed its concern that it is not able to provide the education we promise with the Student Senate acting in the way they do with the disruption of classes and stated that it has decided to suspend classes until it is confident that classes can be offered without interruption.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency