Ellen Threatens UL – As Tension Mounts Again


MONROVIA: President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has threatened withdrawal of government support to the University of Liberia, the nation’s highest institution of learning, if its administration cannot put into place measures for its smooth operation.

President Johnson-Sirleaf made the statement recently in an interview with UNMIL Radio.

In her words: “The students of the University of Liberia have to know that students have to be students. If students want to be on the streets causing problems, they should go out there, but not on the campus of the University. If you go to school, you have to abide by the rules.

You don’t go to school to fight and destroy properties. I think some of them are in prison right now for destroying the university’s properties. But the freedom is too much now. So, I called the school administration and told them to straighten the school up or else government will stop financial support.”

The Liberian leader’s statements follow recent outbreak of violent protests by students of the university over a number of issues including what they called “pre-matured closure” of registration process for the current academic semester and the administration of midterm examinations to students while the registration process was still in progress.

Owing to the bloody violence during which several students were reportedly injured, coupled with incessant demand by the Faculty Association of the UL for the immediate resignation of the UL Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Wede E. Brownell, the university administration, late last year, halted all academic activities and cautioned the UL student community and staff to stay away from the campuses of the institution, pending amicable resolution of the problems.

However, a few days into the New Year, 2014, the UL administration announced reopening of the nation’s highest institution of learning; conversely, members of the Faculty Association, insist never to attend classes until the UL Vice President for Academic Affairs quits the post, blaming her for the situation; while Dr. Brownell categorically rejected claims of wrong doing at the UL.

As a result of the situation, the UL Capitol Hill main campus remains a state of confusion and disenchantment.

In the circumstance, it is also not clear whether the UL Administration has reconsidered its earlier decision to close the registration process for the current academic semester as well as the administration of the midterm exams which were earlier opposed to by the UL students.

However, speaking Monday, January 6, 2013 at a news conference in Monrovia, the Vice President for UL Relations, Dr. S. Momolu Getaweh, unveiled that due to the unsettled dust at the University, the reopening of the university has again been postponed indefinitely.

He said initial announcement that classes at UL were to resume on January 7, 2013, did not materialize.

According to him, the action by UL Administration was predicated on the decision of the University of Liberia Faculty Association to remain disengaged from rendering all academic services until their demands are met by the University Administration.

“The UL Administration is therefore appealing to all students of the University to stay off its campuses until these issues are amicably resolved. Already, a special committee has been appointed by the Board of Trustees to investigate the complaints of ULFA and that committee is presently at work. The Administration is making all efforts to have the pertinent issues that led to temporary closure of the University to be resolved in order for the University to return to regular academic activities as early as possible,” Getaweh told the news conference.