Cuttington University Students Escalate Protest for Dr. Browne’s Resignation
Suakoko, Bong County – A crowd of approximately 60 students of Cuttington University waved signs, chanted slogans, formed human-chain and caused rush-hour havoc Wednesday, May 16, on the Gbarnga-Monrovia highway, as they continue their protest against the university president for the second day.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Police shut down the busy highway after students set up roadblock from 3 to 4 pm and they refused to abandon their demonstration until their concerns were met.
Diverted traffic flooded side areas as the demonstration heightens during the late afternoon hours.
The students are demanding the resignation of Dr. Herman Browne, president of the university, accusing him of failing to live up to the task of running the school since taking over a year ago.Many of those protesting claim they are in solidarity with their lecturers, who abandoned the classrooms Tuesday.
A handful of the university staffers were also seen mingling with the protesting students.
The students are also demanding better living conditions in dorms and are calling for more transparency from Dr. Brown’s administration.
They shut down access to the cafeteria and the administration building but were only allowing students inside the campus.
Several senior students, who were expected to start their exams on Tuesday, were also part of the protest.
“Everybody has to sacrifice something in the movement,” Dorothy Peters, a senior student, said of her decision to join the protest.
When asked if she was worried about failing her class and not being able to graduate, she said, “I think we should never be penalized for standing up for what we believe in.”
Later in the afternoon, the angry students distributed hand warmers, scarves, water and food to keep the protest alive.
Shortly before 5 pm, the head of Bong County police detachment, Frederick Nappy, addressed the aggrieved students, assuring them that mitigation would start soon.
“The Bishop of the Episcopal Church will be arriving tomorrow to meet you people,” he told the students, as they jeered back.
“He does want to meet and will reach out to whoever you want him to reach out to.”
The announcement by the Police officer ended the road blockade, and vehicle traffic on the Monrovia-Gbarnga highway resumed gradually.
And the students then marched their way to the main campus of the university to reconvene.
Once inside the campus, the protest organizers pledged to continue their actions until their demands are considered.
Apart from rush hour traffic delays, the students’ protests resolved without any incident of arrest by the police.
In response to the latest demonstration, one instructor of Cuttington who refused to be named, said that the university “does not condone any activity that can result in serious unintended consequences.”
“Taking over a major highway and impacting the lives of thousands of individuals and families is such an activity,” he said.
He added that Dr. Browne “welcomes” a meeting with the organizers and vowed “to continue a dialogue with students.”
“The university will remain focused on the work it is doing to advance its diversity and inclusion goals, and will continue to speak out against every form of racism, bigotry and injustice on our campus,” the instructor said.