Scores of students attending the University of Liberia are expressing frustration over alleged failure of most of their instructors to attend classes during the course of the semester.
Samples of views collected on the Fendall Campus on March 24, suggested that most instructors did not attend classes or attended class only once as the semester comes to an end.
Final examination has begun, to complete the fragile semester which commenced last year October and was characterized by violent demonstration against Wede Elliot-Brownell, the then Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost.
Expressing discontentment about what they consider unfair to them as students, a female student studying Forestry said since academic activities resumed in January of this year after two months without learning, they did not receive three of the instructors in their respective classes until the semester had come to an end.
“We pay transport fare on a daily basis to come here, but most of the instructors cannot come to class and the little amount that sustains us during the day, goes to transportation without a fruitful result,” the students complained.
Two male students studying Communications also expressed frustration over delay in giving their schedule for test, noting that they also experienced during the semester that most of their instructors would not enter classes.
They stressed that some of their friends who joined the fray in violently protesting against Dr. Wede Elliot-Brownell did not understand what the faculty union was after, but ignorantly staged the protest against Brownell.
“These instructors only wanted the woman to go out of the university because they are doing different jobs and did not want to be restricted. But our friends joined them with violence to achieve the goal of the faculty union, to their (students’) detriment,” one student said.
“They wanted only to be free and do whatever they wanted. It is why they paid some of our colleagues to demonstrate so the woman could go. Because when she was here, she restricted them to either be with UL or do the job they know, for which they are well-paid,” a female student reacted.
When the UL Administration was contacted on the complaints, the Acting Provost Dr. Walter Wiles referred the complaints to UL Relations, in line with the bureaucratic protocol of the institution.
Efforts made to get Vice President for UL Relation, Dr. S. Momolu Gataweh proved futile, but a credible source in the UL Relations Department defended that if instructors were not attending classes, students should be able to identify the sections, times and names of the instructors concerned.
The source though said he was not speaking for the UL Relations Department, however added that it was untrue that some instructors did not attend classes.
The transfer of most of the colleges to the Fendall campus poses serious transportation constraints on students, as buses are very scarce to contend with about 23,000 students going there to attend their classes.
As classes are expected to begin by 9a.m., students remain in line awaiting buses to arrive until time elapses for some classes.
Moreover, the road from Red Light to Fendall is under construction, and it takes a long time for buses to carry students and return at the expected time.
Most students therefore use ordinary commercial buses that charge more money for Fendall to get to campus.
This constraint, couple with the alleged failure of their instructors to attend classes, increases the frustration as their expected academic achievement could not be fully met, due to the alleged absenteeism on the part of their instructors.