‘Academic Felony’ Bill Insight

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UL VP for Academic Affairs Dr. Brownell.jpg

 

The vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost of the University of Liberia, Dr. Wede Elliott-Brownell, wants laws enacted to curtail academic malfeasance and corruption in the education sector.

Addressing a news conference Thursday, December 12, in Monrovia, Dr. Brownell pleaded with the National Legislature to a enact law that would criminalize academic malfeasance. She proposed the title of said legislation as, “Academic Felony.” The intent, Dr. Brownell indicated, “Is for educators, who are determined to destroy the future of Liberia by destroying the minds of our young people, to be prosecuted harshly.”

She maintained that there exists scores of “academic criminals” at the state-run university for which there needs to be laws enacted to protect the future of Liberian students and the entire education sector.

Dr. Brownell did not say whether she, or any member of the public has drafted the proposed legislation and is willing to present it to the Legislature for enactment; she did say that when enacted, said Bill will improve the country’s educational system and promote better learning at the UL.

If Dr. Brownell does not have draft legislation but has the concept, legislative commentators observed, “The UL Provost could engage lawmakers that have direct oversight into the matter in order to develop a draft for its presentation to the lawmakers.”

She described the propose legislation as the only alternative to tackling academic malfeasance, particularly at the University of Liberia. “I have uncovered over LD$2 million (US$25,000 at prevailing rate of L$80) from many illegal activities at the UL from these criminal gangs that are active in the system of the university,” the UL Provost added.

Interestingly, this proposed legislation is vital to the survivability of Liberia’s educational sector that was recently described as a “Mess” by President Johnson Sirleaf.

Since the President’s pronouncement, little or nothing has been done to clean up the sector thereby forcing critics to share the opinion that government is losing its grip when it comes to academy fraud.

It is important that the legislation is crafted before the legislature resumes its legislative session in January next year. Most members of the legislature will be engaged with election related issues.  

Dr. Brownell is struggling against being removed from office by UL faculty members and a group of students who are determined to see her “vacate the UL;” they say it is in an effort to pave the way for what they claim should result in a more professional management of the nation’s highest institution of learning.

But Dr. Brownell has since described those calling for her removal as a “handful of noise-makers that want to ruin the institution.”

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