IN RECENT TIME classes at Liberia’s only state owned institution of higher learning, the University of Liberia were halted due to the disengagement of instructors who have been making some demand to the institutions’ authorities. Now, uncertainty looms over the reopening of the university which was closed down due to the decision taken by the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) to disengage in every academic activities at the University campuses.
THE FACULTY WHICH recently demanded for salary increment, the reinstatement of those instructors who were illegally dismissed according to them, and the immediate resignation of Dr. Weade Brownell who is the Vice President for Academic Affairs, has reinforced its decision to disengage in all academic activities on grounds that the administration is yet to address their plights as agreed upon during the past one month.
THE FACULTY OF the University of Liberia disclosed yesterday that there were series of meetings held with the administration giving several conditions to be met in order to come to a common ground but according to the head of ULFA, their issues have not been addressed by the University’s authorities something he described as disservice to ULFA. According to ULFA, Deans and Chairpersons of various departments are not to attend any faculty senate meetings as part of their disengagement.
DISCUSSING IN A meeting held at the University of Liberia, the University of Liberia Faculty Association disclosed that based on their agreement with the administration, members of the faculty should have been paid at the rate of US$ 78 but to their utmost surprise, they received controversial salaries at the rate of US$ 75 something they described as being deceitful. Members of the ULFA said they are highly disappointed in the president of the University, Dr Emmett Dennis describing him as a man who does not stand by his words because he has failed the faculty and students of the University and even betrayed their trust.
TO MAKE MATTERS worse, the president of the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), Anthony Williams said, his union highly supports the action taken by the faculty and will work collaboratively to ensure that the University of Liberia is restructured. He noted that the Student Union presented 14 claims to the administration but they are willing to compromise 13 of their claims and in no way compromise the resignation of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr Weade Brownell saying that she is the major cause for the numerous problems at the University.
ULSU PRESIDENT DESCRIBED Dr Brownell’s action as an implementation of the statement made by President Sirleaf that the educational system in the country is a mess. The ULSU president added that it is better for the students to be at home for a month or two while the issue at the University would be resolved properly rather than going to school and facing lots of problems. He however assured the public that students of the University of Liberia will remain calm as they await the University Authority’s action to their issues.
WHILE THE RIGMAROLE continues, the only state owned institution of higher learning remains closed and there seems to be no way out of the situation which if continued unabated will stall the learning process at the university and seriously cripple the already fragile learning situation at that institution. In this vein, we are recommending that a dialogue be instituted to lay the matter to rest and ensure the reopening of the University.
THE UL ADMINISTRATION, ULFA, the University’s Student Union and maybe the University’s Board of Trustee should come together and begin the process of dialogue for the reopening of the university. At such a dialogue each party must learn to give and take so as resume the learning process at the University of Liberia. All parties must see reasons to dialogue in a constructive manner that will at the end uphold Liberia’s human resource development especially for a country that is trying to properly restructure and reconstruct all of its fibres including the country’s learning institutions.
THE CHALLENGE IS now to all the parties involved in this crisis to dialogue and end the situation if Liberia must put into right prospective the already downward trend of the country’s educational system.