‘Normal Activities’ Resume at UL

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The Administration of the University of Liberia (UL) has, with immediate effect, and with the approval of the Board of Trustees, announced the formal resumption of regular official activities on all campuses (Capitol Hill and Fendall) as of Monday, December 9.

The administration said regular classes will be reintroduced under a revised academic calendar and will commence early January, 2014.

Meanwhile, the planned commencement Convocation for this year takes place on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

It can be recalled that on November 18, the UL Student Union (ULSU) presented a position paper to the vice president for Student Affairs, Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, detailing complaints, in which it called for the administration’s immediate attention.

According to a statement issued Tuesday under the signature of the UL Vice President/UL Relations, Dr. S. Momolu Getaweh, most of the issues raised were based on the 2013/2014 registration process, and the administration of the mid-term examinations.

“While the concerns of the students were being addressed, the UL Faculty Association (ULFA), also issued a press statement with a litany of their own concerns, and announcing the disengagement of faculty from teaching,” the statement declared.

“Subsequently,” the statement continued, “the Alumni Association, in a letter to the UL president, also expressed concerns about the institution.”

All three of the different groups connected to the crisis have called for the stepping down of the vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Wede Elliot-Brownell.

However, the statement noted that the violence surrounding the expression of concerns by students, particularly those concerning Dr. Brownell, is herewith condemned in no uncertain terms, and will be dealt with after ensuring investigations.

The UL Administration and the Board of Trustees said they have spent an enormous time in consultations with stakeholders, and the parties’ concerned hearing, receiving and understanding concerns, views, and suggestions regarding possible adjudication over the weeks since the institution was closed.

“Based of the conclusion of the various consultations, the UL administration, with the approval of the Board of Trustees will, meanwhile, launch an externally mediated (representatives from the Council of Churches, Civil Society, Association of Liberian Universities) the stepping down of the vice president. The investigation is expected to conclude no later than January 31, 2014,” the statement added.

However, during the period of the investigation, all parties are requested to refrain from activities that would incite demonstrations, unrest, or any form of instability to allow the process to derive conclusions relevant to the interest of the university.

Meanwhile, the UL administration has hired the services of Dr. Walter Wiles to serve as interim vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost, effective immediately.

UL Faculty Association Response

ULFA says it appreciates the timely intervention of the Board of Trustees of the UL in ensuring an amicable resolution of the current crises existing on the campuses of the institution.

In a statement also issued yesterday said, the ULFA said it remains committed to constructively engaging the administration and the Board of Trustees, and therefore, wishes to admonish all faculty members to remain calm as they await the finality (conclusion).

“The ULFA remains committed to working with the President of the UL, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, who has ensured that both faculty members and the student body along with other staff of UL are treated humanely prior to the appointment of the vice president for Academic Affairs/Provost, and at the same time, committed to participating in the ensuring the December 18, 2013 commencement exercises,” the statement maintained.  

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