University of Liberia Administration Under Fire For Renting Buses, Others
MONROVIA – Student groupings at the state-owned University of Liberia (UL) are said to be mounting pressure on authorities of the university to guarantee the provision of a conducive and smooth learning environment for the over 20,000 students attending, with a caveat to their President Julius Sarwolo Nelson to desist from acts which have the proclivity to spark up prolong protest and demonstration at the institution.
By Obediah Johnson
It can be recalled that on Wednesday, January 18, normal academic and working activities were 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 university administration to ensure the proper identification and registration of their colleagues who have not been recorded in the system.
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 on 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 of 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.
PROSA joins in
Over the weekend, the Progressive Students Alliance of the University of Liberia (PROSA) joined their counterparts by calling on the government, through the administration of the university to provide additional buses to commute students to and from the Fendall and other campuses of the university.
PROSA concerns were raised in a statement issued under the signatures of Chairman and Secretary General William B. Sando and Justin W. Jallabah, Jr.
The students claimed that the lack of adequate buses continues to impede their studies at the UL, which is owned and operated by the Liberian government.
“PROSA uses this medium to call on the Government of the Republic of Liberia and the Administration of the university, to do the most sensitive thing by providing adequate buses for students of the University of Liberia transportation purposes as this has been a major challenge for students as they have struggled over the years to reach on campus sooner.”
They wondered “what is so big or difficult for the state-run university to purchase its buses when there are a lot of sources where she generates income and is supported by the government through budgetary allocation, instead of renting buses.”
The students called on both the government and authorities of the UL to take charge of the transportation sector of the university.
PROSA sounded a caveat that any attempt for students to face difficulties regarding transportation issues, “the party will go down into history.”
Release entrance results
At the same time, PROSA has raised an alarm over the delay by the UL administration to release the results of the entrance examinations administered and supervised last year.
“We are fully aware that the position of the Dean for Admission is vacant due to the resignation of Dean Aaron Kollie-and it has created a serious void in the administrative structure of the University of Liberia, thereby creating unnecessary delay in the presentation of the entrance results.”
The students observed that all of those who sat the entrance last year remain “curious to know the results, and therefore, the administration should inform the public about the reason for the snail pace.”
They added that the delay in the release of results by the administration of UL is an attempt to deprive the children of less fortunate Liberian parents from enrolling at the university.
“PROSA calls on President Julius Sarwolo Nelson to desist from any action that might serve as a recipe for protestation or demonstration. The administration should do the needful thing in fairness by releasing the entrance results.”