Monrovia - After persistent protest actions from students of the state-run University of Liberia (UL), the administration of UL has again reopened the registration process for students, who had started their registration process but couldn’t complete because of deadline.
Some of those students had already deposited their fees in the accounts of the UL and were only waiting to be issued their pink sheet and registration complete stamp.
After initial protest action by the students, the institute’s authority opened the process but all the number of students, who hadn’t completed their registration couldn’t be absorbed and the deadline came and closed. Several hundreds were still stranded, again.
Students began to protest, which forced the administration again to reopen the registration process.
The controversial registration process, which is scheduled to reopen today, January 18 to Tuesday, February 6, based on a memo from the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor William Ezra Allen, was rejected yesterday, January 17, by the President of the University, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks.
According to reports, Dr. Weeks said she was not aware of the memo, which emanated from the VPAA’s office. This, according to the reports, angered the already agitated students and they besieged the auditorium where Dr. Weeks had gone to have a meeting with some faculty staffs.
Information gathered by this newspaper has it that Dr. Weeks had instructed her finance staffs to reimburse over 7,000 students, who had paid their registration fees but have not gotten registration complete before the deadline came and passed.
As the protesting students number swelled, which could have easily overpowered the UL security, officers of the Liberia National Police, led by the Deputy Police Inspector General for Operations, Col. Abraham Kromah, arrived and were able to quickly intervene to put the situation under control.
In spite of the police officers’ intervention, angry students still refused for Dr. Weeks to immediately leave the hall as they had blocked every entrance to the auditorium.
For more than six hours, Dr. Weeks was held hostage in the hall, by the protesters, who kept chanting battle cries.
When she saw that the students were very determined to keep her in there despite the presence of the police, she finally had to give in to their demand: agreeing to the extension of the registration process from today to February 6.
However, she reopened it with a condition to only serve students, who have their pink registration sheet to drop and that the fate of students outside the pink-sheet category but with the same registration problem, hangs in the balance.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, the President of the University of Liberia Students Union (ULSU), Mr. Flomo Mau Maiwo, said despite the administration reopening the registration for only students with pink sheet, as the student leader, he would continue the negotiation for every student with registration problem to be registered.
“We are still negotiating; we are advocating for all sides of the coins. There are those who have not, at all, paid any money in the UL accounts but are in this semester and want to go and register. There are other students, who have started the process,” Maiwo said.
He added: “We are negotiating on behalf of them but she (Dr Weeks) said she needs to get back to the cabinet before she can get back to us.”
According to him, if the President of the university does not adhere to the request by allowing all the students with problem to register, they will call for her resignation.
“We will not compromise the students’ registration for anything,” the ULSU President stressed.
Also, a student of the university and member of the Students Integration Movement (SIM), a campus-based political party, Bill M. Quayeason, said the UL President has shown her incompetence to run the university.
“This is the reason why we are calling for her dismissal,” he added.
Quayeason: “How can you have over 30,000 students with a very few staffs to conduct registration process? Then she said she’s closing the process and will give students their money back.”
According to Quayeason, the university is not for profit making.
“It is the right for everyone to acquire higher education.”
“Dr. Allen, the Vice President for Academic Affair, issued a notice that the registration process will be reopened from the 18 of January to the six of February 2018 and Dr. Weeks said she is not aware of any decision, which means she is trying to undermine her colleagues. So, we as a student body are saying she should be dismissed with immediate effect.”