MONROVIA – Normal academic and working activities were on Wednesday, January 18, disrupted at the state-owned University of Liberia (UL) when scores of aggrieved members of the Students Unification Party (SUP) staged a violent protest demanding the the university administration to ensure the proper identification and registration of their colleagues who have not been recorded in the system.
SUP is the largest student grouping at the UL.
The protest commenced during the morning hours, with the protesters storming the classrooms and preventing smooth learning and working activities on the main campus of the university.
The main campus of UL is located on Capitol Hill in Monrovia. It is just a stone throw from the Executive Mansion-the home of the Liberian presidency-and the Capitol Building which hosts members of the National Legislature.
It was necessitated when a called meeting between the students and university authorities ended in deadlock during the morning hours.
The protest was staged based upon the alleged failure of the university authorities to assign Identification numbers to hundreds of students who met all of the requirements after successfully passing previous entrances administered by the UL.
Students who fall under this category have been denied the opportunity to plan and register for the second semester.
The protesters also claimed that authorities of the UL have been allegedly dragging to issue admission letters to others who met all of the requirements for enrollment at the university.
They stated that the move amounts to depriving the children of less fortunate Liberian parents the opportunity to enroll at the university.
The protesters maintained that it is quite unfortunate and wicked for government officials to allow their children and other relatives to be learning abroad and at various private universities and colleges in Liberia, while the children of bitter balls and pepper sellers in Liberia are out of school.
They claimed that the government, through authorities of the university has allegedly subjected them to an environment where students are constrained to struggle to acquire tertiary education.
“Today we will say it here, President George Weah has failed the students and we will rally concerted efforts to make him a one term President,” another protester stated.
The aggrieved students claimed that despite the high level of deception being portrayed by the government that it has scored high marks in elevating tertiary education in the country, students attending UL have not felt the impact and as such, they will continue to resist any action or attempt to deprive them the right to learn.
“We are tiring of also learning in these kinds of makeshift structures and if the University of Liberia cannot adhere to the call of the students, we will resist it and we will continue to resist,” Prince Morris stated.
The protest later subsided following the intervention and deployment of Police Support Unit (PSU) officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) on the university main campus.
The protest was staged barely two days after SUP welcomed students back for the commencement of the second semester with a caveat sounded to UL authorities.
In a statement issued under the signatures of the group’s Secretary General and Chairman Jusu Kamara and Mustapha Kanneh respectively, SUP gave the university a 48-hour ultimatum to resolve the provisional students’ identification numbers saga.
The group demanded the UL administration, headed by President Julius Sarwolo Nelson to swiftly allow provisional students who reached the traditional grade point of 2.00 GPA access to the portal system to plan and also use their provisional ID#s for this semester since the University is yet to fill in the vacuum of Dean for Admission which was created by the resignation of Mr. Aaron Kollie.
“We are giving the Sarwolo Nelson’s administration 48 hours to act accordingly or risk facing the wrath of disenchanted students who are being kept out of school due to administrative problems.”
SUP further used this medium to encourage the broader university student masses in exerting their best efforts as the new academic semester seems to be a very tense one.
“We admonish them to be very studious and take faith in their education as we prepare for the task ahead of building a wholesale functioning Liberian society that illuminates hopes for the people and gives them the tribune of developing their potential into workable tools for the advancement of Liberian humanity.”
The group emphasized that students of UL must understand that in a country where there is zero opportunity for the young, talents of young people are made to perish in their hands, a country that produces and reproduces awful despair, despicable hardship, and cloying hopelessness, young people must continue to see education as the hope for us and must have excuses for not going to school to prepare themselves for the daunting task tomorrow.
Authorities of the state-owned University of Liberia are yet to respond to the allegations and actions of the students.