The Administration of the University of Liberia (UL) has suspended all its activities with immediate effect until calm can be restored on all its campuses.
In a release issued under the signature of the Vice President for UL Relations, S. Momolu Getaweh, the decision is an approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University.
The administration has directed that all concerned stay away from the institution’s premises while a full investigation is being conducted. The latest decision of the UL administration comes against the backdrop of series of ‘unprecedented’ violence which has not been experienced in the last five years.
The administration is currently holding consultations with the leaderships of UL Faculty Association, the University of Liberia Staff Association, the UL Student Union and other concerned parties to restore civility and serenity to the institution.
On November 8, ULSU presented a position paper to the Vice President for Student Affairs, Weade Brownell listing issues among which the registration process and mid-term examinations which for them needed immediate attention.
The administration said while it was reviewing the students’ concerns, the Faculty Association on November 20, held a press conference calling for the immediate resignation of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the disengagement of all faculty members from all teaching activities among other things until their demands are met.
The National Commission on Higher Education has strongly condemned the recent action taken by the faculty of the University of Liberia demanding the immediate resignation of Dr Weade Brownell.
The Commission through its director, Dr. Michael Slawon in a press conference expressed serious disappointment over the sudden suspension of all academic activities at the University noting that the faculty’s decision was in error by not informing the National Commission on Higher Education about her plight before taking final decision to disengage all instructional activities at the University until their demands are met.
According to the NCHE, the faculty and students should have exhausted all options available to them to address their complaints before initiating a strike action.
Dr Michael Slawon added that academia should be where rational discourse takes place and education is not just the avenue by which students get well-paying jobs but education should endow students with the desire, ability, and willingness to solve problems through reasoning and debate relying on critical thinking and yes, to compromise and arrive at workable solutions.
He however noted that violence should be resisted and should certainly not be the first or second option to resolve problems something he said is contrary to the delivery of the quality education that Liberia needs.
The Commission on Higher Education was created by an act of the Legislature and is responsible for the guidance and direction of higher education in Liberia.