By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
The University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) has adamantly vowed to withhold all grades and will not resume classes the next semester until the university administration pays its three-month arrear owed them.
The unanimous resolve of the faculty association pre-supposes that the faculty members’ demand extends into the five instructional weeks for freshmen and sophomore students that are set to begin today, April 27.
ULFA took the decision on Saturday, April 24 when the faculty met and agreed that their patience has ran out on the university administration’s slow redress of their matter which they considered as being a form of downplay noting, “Our waiting did not yield any fruitful result.”
The UL faculty said with the situation the university administration has placed them in, they are now considered as beggars therefore their action is to compel the administration to take action with the understanding that they are human beings with fundamental problems too.
In an interview with the ULFA’s president yesterday, Clifford Young, said the university administration’s position proves that it is reneging on its promises to pay their salary arrears owed them therefore the faculty’s decision remains irrevocable.
Professor Young praised the government for its supportive role played to the University of Liberia noting that inside investigation has shown that the government had never been supportive as it was during the Ebola upsurge at which time the administration was given all allotments for the entire workforce of the university.
He said to date, the solution of the faculty is with the university administration which has chosen to renege in paying them adding that the government does not believe in accruing salary arrears especially for the faculty when it cherishes education.
“If you cannot reward a man for his contribution, how can you get his best? What we are saying is enough is enough; we can no longer collaborate and coordinate with the administration looking at the lapses in management control at the UL,” the ULFA president said.
He emphasized that it is one thing to graduate students and another thing to educate them. Asked what he thinks could be some of the Emmett Dennis’ fault in how the university is proceeding, Prof. Young said lots of unnecessary positions contrary to the UNIVERSITY CHARTER were created thereby stretching the payroll.
He described the faculty as being financially strangulated and almost malnourished especially those who depend on salaries for their sustenance admitting that their children do not remember the last time they were even considered as fathers or bread-winners because of their inability to cater for them.
The ULFA president used the interview to call on government to intervene because according to him, this time the faculty is resolute and at the same time hoped that the students will see the plight of the faculty as their own because some of these faculty members are tenants, and have school going children as well.
He called for the proper people to be placed in the right position noting, “Education or being a teacher in Liberia must not mean signing contract with poverty. We therefore crave the indulgence of the administration to reward faculty on time and equitably.”
Prof. Young reiterated that the ULFA is not holding the government accountable for the faculty’s salary arrears because investigation gathered shows that since last year, arrears have been fully paid therefore it is the UL administration that will have to account and put the situation under control.