University of Liberia’s vice president for Academic Affairs & Provost, Dr. Wede Elliot-Brownell, says she has not resigned and is not resigning from the University of Liberia, despite acts by disgruntled people she refers to as “criminals,” that do not want to see the academic mess driven out of the state-run institution.
Dr. Brownell, who is for the first time reacting to claims of ineptitude and violent demonstrations against her by students and faculty of the institution, made it crystal clear at a press conference held in Monrovia on December 12, that activities on campus over the past few weeks do not reflect the views of over 29,000 students of the university; instead, those activities represent the designs of no more than a handful of “criminals,” bent on destroying the future of the young people of the country,” she explained.
Dr. Brownell disclosed that her detractors have organized a cartel or syndicate that insists on “business as usual,” and these “criminals” are determined to enrich themselves at the expense of the students.
In a petition by aggrieved faculty staff about three weeks ago, the faculty alleged that the students in question had not all failed the last entrance; instead, Dr. Brownell had unilaterally declared that all 25,000 students from the main campus as well as from Fendall, had failed.
In reaction, Dr. Brownell declared that, “No candidate made the required minimum threshold scores of 50% in Math and 70% in English set by the faculty senate; there were 316 students who attained 50% and above in Math but did not make the required minimum score of 70% in English.”
According to her, after reviewing the results, the faculty senate changed the threshold to the minimum scores of 40% in Math and 50% in English. That lowering of the threshold produced 1,681 freshmen for the 2013-2014 academic year.
She furthered that those making calls for her resignation and demonstrating against her are the same people who do not want any change at the university, but insist on continuing in “academic malfeasance, corruption and other clandestine activities,” while firmly resisting any change that would upset their surreptitious ventures.
“But we will clean up the education mess, and no amount of threat, intimidation, or loud noise will deter us,” Dr. Brownell stressed.
“Because the steps directed at cleaning the system is affecting those defiling it, such individuals became desperate and resorted to designing scare tactics and intimidation,” she explained. Going to her residence to vandalize her bedroom, taking away her flat television screen and other valuables, is the result of those tactics and acts of intimidation by thugs in cahoots with the criminal element entrenched at the University.
“With desperation setting in, these criminals and cowards are turning to intimidation and scare tactics; they sent thugs with cutlasses to my home to intimidate me, but I do not scare easily,” she said.
She stressed that the “Thugs” were successful in getting at her because they took advantage of her gender as a woman. “If I were a man, they would not have gotten to me, but were successful in their criminal deeds because I am a woman,” she noted.
Commenting on other academic malfeasance activities, the UL Provost noted that some faculty staffs are dual full-time employees, teaching at other universities and sending teaching assistants who are not qualified.
She added that some people were on payroll of the university without working but receiving salaries that were not justified; something she said led her to collect LD$20 million for the university.
She furthered that “You teach I chop” exists at the university, in which a chairperson of a department hires adjunct faculty with the expressed understanding that the adjunct faculty will give some of his/her compensation as kickback.
The Provost also indicated that change of grade without documented evidence, fake grades, and illegal entry to the UL, are ills she is striving to curtail as Provost; but because those engaged in these acts do not want to see such changes, they incite a few students and other criminals from outside the university to go against their efforts aimed at turning things around.
She added that they had to revoke some students’ degrees upon realizing that some of the “Criminals” granted them (students) degrees that they had not sat in class for.
Meanwhile, information from the University of Liberia has it that another person is acting as Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost in place of Dr. Brownell. She however explained that for now she is about to go for a three-week vacation; it is a usual protocol that someone acts in her stead while she is away.
She said this does not indicate in any way that she has resigned or she is being removed from the UL.
Regarding the names of “Criminals,” Dr. Brownell said the University Board has sent a Team of Inquiry to investigate the matter, and when the investigation kicks-off, and each party begins to explain its side, names, dates of events and other instances that people have built on that they do not want to change will spring up.
Regarding her academic credential that students have overly said is lacking, Dr. Brownell said she completed high school at the College of West Africa among 37 students in 1973, got her university degree at the UL in 1978, and received her Master Degree in the United States in 1984 and PhD in Accounting at the Oklahoma University in 1990.
She said as she goes for her three-week vacation, she will bring all her diplomas and pass them on to the media for publication; also, she will provide the channels through which those anxious to know about her can get to the universities in the United States from which she obtained her credentials them.