Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs & Tourism, Norris Tweh, has in the strongly condemned the recent violent protest at the University of Liberia that led to the indefinite suspension of classes.
In an interview with the Daily Observer on December 18, Minister Tweh, who graduated with a Law degree from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law in the 95th graduation convocation of the University, asserted that the violent protest reported recently posed a serious credibility problem for students graduating from there.
He said information concerning UL spreads to other countries, and that Liberia’s counterparts would disregard products of the University and question their intellectualism based on what would be seen as their failure to resolve problems without violence.
In late November, a group of UL students carried out violent protest against the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, Dr. Wede Elliot-Brownell; who they mocked and ridiculed by roaming the campus with a casket symbolizing her and calling on her to leave the university.
The disgruntled students went even further by breaking into the home of Dr. Brownell, stealing her television and other valuables.
On November 22, they blocked the Administration building of the University in an attempt to get a hold of the Provost, but she escaped under intense security provided by the Liberian National Police (LNP).
“The University is closed now, and it is the very students using violence to resolve issues who are affected,” Mr. Tweh said.
He praised UL’s president, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, as one of the best administrators the university has had, saying Dr. Dennis’ approach to issues conforms to the democratic realities of today, and that for students to use violence to try and solve their problems is far below the expectations of the standard UL strives for.
He added that products of the university are expected to be involved in intellectual discourse that sets the agenda for peace and dialogue, rather than being hostile and violent.
Concerning the issue of the poor academic performances of students nowadays, the Minister stated that money is being invested in the education sector, but expressed his view that the community and parents— who are every student’s first teachers— must play critical roles in shaping their lives.
He said students spend more time in their communities and with the parents that at school, and as such, parents have to lead the way for their children by helping to build a foundation that would uplift society.