UL Students’ Hope Dashed

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Dr. Getaweh releasing the indefinite suspension of classes.jpg

Despite announcing that normal academic activities would begin Monday, January 06, at the University of Liberia, classes are being suspended indefinitely.

The UL administration, through its Vice President for UL Relations, Dr. S. Momolu Gataweh, disclosed yesterday that classes are still indefinitely suspended because the University’s Faculty Union (ULFA) remains resolute to its disengagement.

At a brief press conference, Dr. Getaweh said ULFA has resolved that no faculty member enters class to teach until their plights are addressed, and paramount among the plights is the resignation of the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost, Dr. Wede Elliot Brownell.

The faculty union earlier underscored reinstatement of some staffs allegedly dismissed by Dr. Brownell, increment in allowances and salaries, amongst others as some of their demands before they can go to class.

ULFA alleged that stalling of these opportunities for them is being engineered by the Provost, and until she steps down and leaves the University of Liberia, they cannot reach any amicable decision with the administration to teach.

In the midst of these demands last November, students converged on both the Capitol Hill and Fendell campuses of the University, protesting that the Provost leave. They allegedly broke into her home taking away some valuables.

On November 22, students upped their violence action, thereby making Dr. Brownell to led out of the campus in armed police guards.

On December 12, 2013 the controversial Provost reacted to the allegation the first time and alleged that those fighting her at the UL are doing it because she has closed all the loop holes through which they were extorting money from students, thus damaging their future.

She further alleged that most of the people on salary there were not working in the university but receiving unjustifiable salaries to the detriment of the institution.

This process, Dr. Brownell said, enabled her to collect millions of Liberian dollars for the University.

Amidst this dilemma, the UL Administration is calling on students to be out of the campuses as committee set up to investigate the matter does its work to come out with findings.

Dr. Gataweh added that staff members are to report to work daily as the institution is not officially closed.

He directed students to be glued to radio and newspapers as information about reopening of the state-run institution will be made through the media.

When contacted Monday evening, Anthony Williams, University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) Acting President said they in student leadership were in support of ULFA’s decision to remove Dr. Brownell from the University.

Williams called on the Board of Trustees of the UL to consent with ULFA to relieve Dr. Brownell off her post.  He also urged the UL administration to reopen the university.

The spokesperson of the faculty union, Mr. Clifford Young, disclosed to the Daily Observer through a mobile phone communication that none of their issues put forward earlier had been addressed, and therefore they remain resolute in their disengagement until those issues are appropriately addressed.

Meanwhile, the UL Administration has assured earlier that classes would resume on January 7 and students were preparing to begin academic activities after two months of stay away.

The recent decision of administration to indefinitely suspend classes is another dash of hope as the euphoria for over 30,000 students to go back to school turn lukewarm with no time frame of recommencing classes. 

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