University of Liberia Faculty Refuse to Administer Final Exams for Semester Due to Delayed Salaries
Monrovia – The University of Liberia, for the second day, has gone without regular academic activities as teachers are said to be on strike in demand of two months salaries and arrears.
Report by J. H. Webster Clayeh, [email protected]
The UL faculty under the banner ‘Concerned University of Liberia Faculty Association (CONULFA)’ comprises full time and part-time employees of the state-run university in a communication on Friday, July 19, 2019, threatened not to administer the second semester’s final examinations for academic 2018/2019 year if their two months salaries and other benefits are not paid on or before July 19, 2019.
Their communication did not seem to raise eyebrows until Monday, July 22, when students who came to write their final exams could not see a single instructor on the campuses – both the Fendell and Capitol Hill.
The go-slow action by the instructors prompted the UL administration to send a quick response.
And by 10 am the same day, the administration posted a letter on their Facebook page appealing to faculty to remain in classes and administer final exams.
The UL administration also promised to pay the June salary before the end of the week.
“We are aware of the unusual delay in the disbursement of salaries for the month of June, UL president, Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks, is pleading with the university family, especially UL Faculty, not to boycott the administering of final exams, as the UL Administration is working out the necessary modalities and is confident that disbursement of salaries to employees will commence this Wednesday, July 24, 2019,” the statement posted on their Facebook page said.
It continued: “At the same time, the UL is holding discussion with the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning (MFDP) for July salary payment to be released on or before July 30, 2019.”
Despite UL Administration calls on its employees for exercising patience and professionalism; the instructors on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, boycotted class for the second day.
According to some instructor, they will not administer test until their demands are being met.
Students Flagged Disappointment
Student Lewis Gibson, who said he left from home very early, could not write his test.
“I came from all the way Rehab community only to know that the teacher is on a go-slow it is so disappointing,” said Gibson, who was ready to take the Accountant 402 test.
“I have been here for more than one hour and the instructor told me on the phone that I should listen to the radio to find out when they (teachers) they will return to classes, that all he told me,” he said.
Nancy Harris, another student who ready to sit her English 421 test, was also disappointed when she realized that the test was canceled due to the teachers’ go-slow action.
“I spent too much money to come here only to write my test. The administration must find mean to resolve this situation as quickly as possible,” she said.
Mass Protest Loading
Meanwhile, Mohammed Deygbo, Co-chair for Party Affairs of the Student Unification Party (SUP) – a student based political party – says the UL administration is in “serious error” to delay the salary of instructors.
According to Deygbo they will stage a protest on July 24 to demand the salaries and other arrears for instructors.
“We are giving the UL administration and the Liberian government a 12 hours ultimatum to address all financial and social liabilities of the aggrieved instructors.”
“Failure on their part, there will be a mass protest action taken by the students’ populace.”
Deygbo added: “We are going to assemble the students in their numbers because the students are not responsible for whatsoever thing that is ongoing. Rather, it is the UL administration and the Liberian government who have failed to adhere to their responsibility of paying the instructors their monthly salary.”