Liberia: UMU Faces Criticisms for Expelling ‘Victim’ in the Nude Video

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Monrovia– It is less than a week since the administration of United Methodist University (UMU) expelled five students for violating count 18 of the university’s student handbook.

Report by Bettie K. Johnson-Mbayo, [email protected]

Count 18 states, “no student, whether male or female, shall sexually harass another student. This includes unwanted gesture, touching or verbal. Students are also advised not to expose sexual areas to fellow students”.

UMU interim president Dr. Albert B. Coleman said the victim of the nude video including four of others namely; Stephanie Ajavon, Charlotte Dixon, Anita Woods, and Deddeh Yarsiah are expelled.

According to Dr. Coleman, the “unwholesome acts” of the five students have brought a serious embarrassment to the university”.

But the decision has come under attack, as many are using social media, broadcast institutions and groups including veterans of the university to slam the decision.

A current student at the university who asked for anonymity said the expulsion of the victim is “absolutely wrong” because she has been victimized twice.

He doesn’t support the recording of the nude video, but the school should have given her mercy on grounds that she was brave to come forward and report the case to state authorities.

“She taped it on her personal cell phone and didn’t share it. It was the other students who shared the video. Those students invaded the victim’s privacy by sharing the video should be penalized and different punishment should have been given her.”

He said the action by the university is double jeopardy while urging the Methodist Church to reconsider the decision.

Selena Frank, a former student of the school, also criticized UMU for expelling the victim.

“The victim should have been given protection from the school, now the manner and form in which her name was called will be stigmatized her, what are they saying to other students that the students who shared the victim nude is right, the university must bring her back to the school,” Frank said.

At the same time, Siaka Tarr is questioning the university administration on the factors that merit the victim’s expulsion excluding the violation of count 18 in the student’s handbook.

For Kpadeh Kennedy, a former student of UMU, the school should be warning students to stop watching and sharing nude video, adding that no student should ever make a mockery of the victim, if any student is caught in the act, they should be expelled.

“That’s exactly what Stella Maries polytechnic did when one of their students was involved in a nude video publication saga, some years ago. And the school authority succeeded in helping the victim, UMU can also do the same,” he said.

He continued, “The video was not produced on campus. Besides, she wasn’t the one that posted the video on social media. Instead, it was posted by some of her colleagues who decided to disgracefully disgrace her.

“As for them, they deserved to pay the price of their inquisitiveness! Let UMU see the reason to retract their decision against the victim.

“We are kindly appealing to the administration to revisit their decision against the victim.

Self-pity of a sick person worsens their condition. What do I mean; psychologically, whenever we are seriously sick, we need certain people around us, such as our loved ones, our closest friends, and immediate family. Their presence will help to give us hope, courage to respond to medication. And as for the case of the victim, she’s mentally and psychologically ill, so therefore she also needs the support of the school authority.”

“But going, on the contrary, will make matter worse, because whenever she’s sitting alone, the only thing that will come to her mind is how she had been abandoned.

“I advise that the victim should not be alone in this kind of condition till this situation can be handled. Otherwise, the only alternative she has in mind is just to commit suicide and finish the whole thing,” said Kpadeh.

It is not known if the university will maintain their decision as family sources of the victim have disclosed that they are contemplating on instituting a lawsuit against the university.

When contacted, Dr. Coleman said the administration is currently receiving statements from both sides, commending and condemning the action of the university to expelled the victim but the university is contemplating on its next action

He furthered that the university is more concern about its integrity and that a single student will not denigrate the university.

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