The administration of the University of Liberia has announced that normal academic activities at the institution are expected to begin on Wednesday this week. Normal classes at the institution were suspended last November in the wake of students’ protest who at the time were in support of a protest action by the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA).
The association had announced a “disengagement” protest action until certain demands were met. The association demanded the resignation of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Madam Wade Elliott Brownell, the increment of salaries and the reinstatement of some instructors who were ‘illegally’ dismissed.
In the wake of the suspension of classes, a special investigating committee was set up to look into the crisis on the campus. It was based on the partial report of the committee that the administration last weekend announced the resumption of classes this Wednesday.
In a press release issued last week, the UL administration said the Board of Trustees of the University of Liberia has endorsed the partial report of the Mediation-Investigation Committee, set up by the Board, with reference to the change of the Academic Leadership of Dr. Wede Elliott-Brownell as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost with immediate effect. The Board reached the decision on Wednesday, January 22, 2014, at a full meeting on the University of Liberia Capitol Hill Campus.
The release said the Mediation Investigation Committee comprises representative from the Liberia National Bar Association, the National Commission on Higher Education, the Association of Liberian Universities, the National Civil Society Council and the Inter-Religious Council.
Its Terms of Reference included investigating the management of the academic program; maintaining the high standard of education within the University academic program; the process of administering entrance examinations and the number and quality of faculty, among others. This report only covered the Academic Leadership of the University. The work of the Committee continues and is expected to complete its full report by January 31, 2014.
The UL release recalled that the current crisis began in November) 2013, when some UL Students staged a number of strike actions that led to the disruption of classes, in some instances caused physical damages to properties.
According to the release, during that same period, the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) issued a release outlining a number of grievances, particularly the continuation of the leadership of the VPAA/Provost in academic affairs, and announced the “disengagement” of the faculty from further classroom activities until the VPAA resigns her post. These actions resulted in the closure of the University, thus depriving over 30,000 students the opportunity to continue their education.
Meanwhile, the release said the leaderships of the ULFA and the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) have been informed about the decision of the Board and have accepted to go along with the decision.
The release said while the Mediation-Investigation Committee deliberates on other issues, the Board of Trustees has condemned unequivocally the tendency toward violence as a solution to problems and that both the Committee and the UL Administration must address this with thoroughness.