ON WEDNESDAY THINGS fell apart at the government’s highest learning of institution, the University of Liberia (UL) as the UL Faculty Association (ULFA) unanimously agreed and resolved to disengage all activities on the university campuses until all issues are resolved. ULFA’s decision which stemmed from series of actions by students as well as comments from the public and the most recent one from the President of Liberia that the educational system in the country is a ‘mess’, ULFA described the provost of UL as a ‘demon’ unleashed on the university.
ULFA SAID SINCE the appointment of Provost Weade Brownell, the university has been in lots of errors that cannot be corrected and with the absence of Dr. Emmet Dennis, all academic activities as well as financial transactions have been delegated to her which has damaged the reputation of the nation’s highest university and something must be done expeditiously to salvage this once respectable institution. Blaming their action on the undesirable behavior of the UL Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Brownell, ULFA termed it as her ‘incompetent’ behavior which continues to bring the University into public disrepute.
ADDRESSING JOURNALISTS FOLLOWING a well attended emergency meeting of ULFA members, the president, Clifford Young, Sr. said the faculties are demanding the unconditional resignation of Madam Brownell as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of faculty members who were unilaterally suspended out of the labor laws of Liberia and dismissed. The Association also resolved that the General Auditing Commission conduct a forensic audit of the UL administration and cause the administrators to declare their assets before and after their appointment.
MR. YOUNG SAID ULFA’s resolution is to border on the upward salary adjustment; poor working conditions as well as the plight of students and support staff noting, “The call for the resignation of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is predicated upon her incompetence and problematic and compulsive attitude, culminating into continual and uncontrollable chaos on the campuses of the University of Liberia.” In its four-count resolution contained in a three-page document among other things, ULFA said the provost has an insatiable desire to ferment conflict which has led to the poor coordination and infighting between her office and that of the Vice President for Fiscal Affairs and Finances, causing untold hardship on faculty members in receiving overloads and or honorarium, part timers’ salaries and regular salaries during festivities.
THE ASSOCIATION HIGHLIGHTED how the administration has reneged on its promises for a 30 percent upward salary adjustment and how the provost has embarked on arbitrary and unilateral dismissal of faculty members based on instructions on stick-on-pads. ULFA named the decline in quality education, lack of adequate and effective transportation and appropriate instructional progress, gross and deliberate flagrant disregard for professors and instructors, irregularities in the entrance and placement examination that have brought the UL to public ridicule as a manifest of the unacceptable hostile behavior of the “professed overly qualified self-righteous vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost.”
AMIDST ALL OF these allegations, we believe it is about time that the UL faculty and the university administration sit down and begin a serious process of dialoguing as means of finding an amicable solution to the problem that has the propensity to stall the learning process at the only state-run university in the country. We therefore urge the UL administration headed by veteran educator, Dr. Emmett Dennis, to seize the situation before things get out of hands and escalate to other stakeholders such as the students that might feel victimized by the Faculty Association’s decision of disengagement.
WHILE CALLING FOR a prompt but frank dialogue, we are also appealing to the student body and all parties involved to exercise a strong sense of restrain, discuss the issues that are the root causes of the problem and advance a step forward by resuming serious academic activities on the campuses of the University of Liberia without delay. In any circumstance, it is better to sit together, share ideas and dialogue responsibly as a means of solving problems.
IT IS OUR hope that with a sound purpose of carrying out a dialogue and other stakeholders exercising restrain, a resolution can be found in the not too distant future thus bringing activities at the university to normality.