Monrovia - University of Liberia’s 98th graduation ceremony slated for December 4, 2017 seems to be threatened by aggrieved students of the school.
Report by Edwin G. Genoway, Jr & Augustine T. Tweh
Some students are reportedly planning to disrupt the graduation ceremony in order to grasp the attention of the school authority to fully open the registration process that was recently open for two weeks but restricted to certain category of students.
Students of the UL Fendall Campus Friday informed affected students of the University to gather in their number to engage the administration to fully open what they (students) called partial process.
The students have been advocating that the school give all of the students, who have not completed their registration process, some times to complete their process.
But the administration, under pressure, announced that the registration process will open for two weeks.
In the administration’s communication circulating on the campuses, of the school, dated November 27, 2017 signed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor Williams Ezra Allen, stated that “student, who are qualified for the supplementary registration must have made payment of tuition and fees in full or in part no later than October 31, 2017.”
The letter also stated that the students include those who are on scholarship, financial aid and deferred payment.
The communication excluded students, who started their payment from November 1, 2017 to the 31th of November.
But the students argued that everyone, who started their registration process, should be accepted and not only students, who started in October, saying the process should fairly be distributed for everyone to benefit.
Reacting to the students’ demand in an interview over the weekend, the president of the University of Liberia, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, said there will be no obstruction during the graduation ceremony, as there will be huge security presence on the premise of the university during the ceremony.
“We have been talking to the students as much as we can; we have been talking to the head of Police as much as we can.
We’ve talked with the Liberia National Police (LNP) as much as we can because we do want a smooth graduation ceremony,” she added.
Madam Weeks noted that there are people, who do not want to see the upliftment of the institution, describing them as instigators and small group of paid agent.
“Let me tell you this, there are those who don’t want to see anything good happening here at the university, they want to continuously be chaos, because when there is chaos than it provides a opportunity where you do not have as much accountability, you cannot account for things.
You cannot account adequately for things associated with money, you cannot account adequately for things that have to do with clearance for graduation and you can’t pay much attention to fake documents and accountability in general is minimized,” she stressed.
Madam Weeks continued: “And there are people who do not want to see the university have order and operate as universities around the world operate.
So, a small group of people will be paid to cause chaos to get people raid of. But I really hope and wish and pray that we get to a point where people realized that I am not going to be harmed by this.”
“Those people, who are the instigators already know that once things are in place and accountability is secured, people will start finding out they got to the university fraudulently, they got fake grades, they have fake documents and once we start paying attention to that they will never graduate, so what do you do?
You constantly have chaos so these things can’t come to light."
"But we need to start and really think what am I doing? Why am I running behind that small group of people? Why are they doing this?
Does this make sense? We need to really start and really think things through, we are not doing that,” the UL president emphasized.
At the same time, she disclosed that a graduating student identified as Melvin Slowboe of the Management Department of the University of Liberia was arrested on Tuesday, November 28, by UL Police for allegedly faking the university’s document to graduate.
“Right now, we have already caught a young man."
"This is not a fake person and this is a real person who had fake document. He tried to dupe the university; he’s not going to graduate this year.”
“During the investigation, we found out that it took him less than 30 minutes to fake document, fake receipt.
"And he almost duped a young lady who has given him her money to pay her registration fees."
"And the fact that it took him less than 20 minutes, that means that plenty people we will start catching now,” she stated.
Dr. Weeks further added that the student is currently in Police custody for further investigation, citing that the administration, under her watch, is also investigating 800 fake registration receipts used by some students to dupe the institution.
“Just start to think about it, you gone through all of this and then to graduate you do something like that, knowing that we passed a policy that if you come in as a freshman, or you trying to get in the university and you bring fake document as entrant student, you will be banned from the university for four years."
"You bring fake document as a senior you will be banned for at least a year.”
“Last year, even though we had some measure in place or trying to, we found 800 fake receipts from registration.
"That’s only the ones that we found."
"This is why I am saying we are trying to make the university run like universities elsewhere and people are trying not to because they don’t want to be correct."
"We have some people who have managed to get through the university through fake means; we are catching them. Some of them who think they have been cleared, we are checking them, and some of them are the instigators, too, we are catching them,” she added.