Marylanders Oppose Appointment at William V. S. Tubman College University

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 Monrovia – The recent appointment of Dr. Edward Lama Wonkeyor as President of Tubman University in Maryland County by President Sirleaf seems not to be going down well with some Marylanders who are contending that Dr. Wonkeyor is  not worthy of the post because he doesn’t hail from the South-East.

Dr. Wonkeyor replaces outgoing President Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell who is set to be retired soon. Dr. Russell is the first President of the university. Dr. Wonkeyor currently serves as Vice President and Provost of Cuttington University.

However, some Marylanders in Monrovia believe that a south-easterner who is qualified should have been preferred over Dr. Wonkeyor as President of the University.

Gbalee Gray, a former employee of Tubman University, is head of a group called “Tubman University Interest Group.” He alleges that Dr. Wonkeyor was handpicked by the outgoing President, Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell. He maintains that it is a breach of protocol.

‘Besmearing Operation’

But the University Authority has characterized the assertion as a besmear operation to taint the character of Dr. Russell and the hard work she has done at the university.

TU Assistant Professor of Finance & administration at the College of Management, Robert F. Neal II, described the argument of the Marylanders as lazy.

At a news conference Tuesday in Paynesville, Mr. Neal said if the President follows the assertion of the Marylanders and withdraws the appointment of Dr. Wonkeryor,  it means that the President will be creating just a single job for Marylanders and allowing other Marylanders elsewhere to lose job.

“Are the Marylanders telling me that only Marylanders or people from Southeast should be appointed at TU? If that happens, it means that other Marylanders residing in different counties are not supposed to be appointed in higher positions.

What will happen when the people of Bong County say only a son from the county should be President at Cuttington? So what if Cape Mount says the same, or the people of Bassa say the same, let the people of Maryland stop that bad politics they’re preaching,” he noted.

“Sticking to a principle of operation of the University which has to do with “decisions and actions on the basis of data and evidence”, the Administration of the University provided the Liberian Public with the facts which contradict and dismiss assertions of Mr. Gray, Mr. Theoway and their counterparts.

“For a brief insight into the search process, the Board of TU established a search committee that included a broad spectrum of representatives from higher education institutions, TC-TU Alumni Association, TU Faculty Senate, NCHE, the local Harper Community, larger Liberian community, TU Foundation Board and selected Board of Trustees members; the Search Committee reviewed several candidates including their application materials and their interview performance following which a detailed assessment report of the candidates, including a shortlist of the best candidates was forwarded to the Board of Trustees; the Board of Trustees reviewed the Search Committee’s report and concurred with same by forwarding a recommendation containing more than one candidate through Board Chair- Dr. Emmet A. Dennis to the President of the Republic of Liberia and Visitor to the University; the Visitor reviewed the Board’s recommendation and forwarded the selected candidate (by nomination), in this case Dr. Wonkeryor to the Board for ratification and appointment; the Board then ratified the President’s choice and appointed Dr. Wonkeryor as President of Tubman University, effective July 1, 2016.

“The process was clearly articulated in Article IV, Section 2 of the Charter which states that “the President of the University shall be appointed by the Board upon the nomination of the Visitor of the University.”

Neal says Marylanders should give Dr. Wonkeryor a chance to perform the new task given him by the President of Liberia.

It is reported that some Marylanders are planning a protest action to oppose the appointment of Dr. Wonkeryor during the pending graduation ceremony of the school next month.

The William V. S. Tubman University, commonly known as Tubman University, is a public university located in Harper, Maryland County, Liberia. The university is named after William V.S. Tubman, the 19th President of Liberia.

Founded in 1978 as the William V. S. Tubman College of Technology, the school originally offered associate’s degrees in architecture, civil engineering, electrical engineering, electronics and mechanical engineering.

TU was also one of the main schools in Liberia to produce secondary school teachers. In 1990, the college was accredited to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in those fields, but soon closed following the outbreak of the First Liberian Civil War.

The school remained closed through the 1990s and the end of the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Enrolment numbers show 264 students and a faculty of 28 in 1999.

In 2008, the college was reopened by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, with Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell appointed that year as the first female President of the university.

In April 2009, Sirleaf signed a bill elevating Tubman to university status, and the newly renamed and renovated university opened in September 2009. The school’s enrolment stood at 288 at that time, of which 219 were males and 69 were females.

Edwin G. Genoway, Jr – [email protected]

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