Academic activities at the Grand Bassa Community College (GBCC) is at a standstill as the faculty are threatening to protest until the administration can address their demand for salary increment.
The instructors and support staff under the banner, “Faculty and Staff Association of Grand Bassa County Community College” (FSA-GBCC), have resolved to put down tools until Dr. Nathaniel Gbessagee’s administration addresses their plight.
Plans are well underway by the staff to embark on a go-slow action in demand of salary increment — a situation that has stalled normal academic activities at the institution.
The GBCC’s Board of Trustees and the institution’s president, according to the investigation, tussled over the unwritten implementation of the college’s policy on hiring of staff, salary ranges, etc.
FSA-GBCC president Philip Johnson told our investigator that he and his colleagues are demanding not just a salary increment, but also unmerited social security deduction and unfair and unspecified treatment Dr. Gbessagee meted against them.
Johnson accused Dr. Gbessagee of enjoying an astronomical salary as compared to his predecessor, Dr. Levi Zangai, and of bringing in new staff, who are being given preferential treatment. “Some new people filled vacant positions, which were never advertised and are now making more money than us,” Johnson claimed.
He named one Roosevelt Henskey, who is the new Dean for the Business Department as Dr. Gbessagee’s son-in-law, adding, “this guy is receiving a salary of US$1200, unlike other deans, who only make about US$600.”
Johnson, who teaches social sciences and is also the chief of office staff of Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, said, “Unless everyone starts to get what they deserve, we will not allow such things happening here.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Gbessagee considers the FSA-GBCC as an illegal group that is not willing to allow him to put in place proper standards at the college, saying the members are working hard to undermine him; “but that will not happen,” he added.
He said some of the claims raised by the instructors are political with the intent to distract him from improving the college.
“There are some instructors who are working part time and are demanding salary increment for full time, which is unacceptable,” Dr. Gbessagee said.
“I inherited some unqualified teachers, some of them are now going against me. I have closed some of their eating spots to include the double shifts, which has agitated them,” he told the Daily Observer.
It can be recalled that two months ago, some of the students staged a strike action demanding the administration to provide identification cards, physical education T-shirts, and a student handbook. The protest came just two months into Dr. Gbessagee’s tenure.
A letter, which recently circulated around Buchanan with the caption, “Let’s Save GBCC” came as a result of the alleged situation at the institution, but Dr. Gbessagee said such an insinuation is “unfair and unacceptable.”
“GBCC has no problem, and there is no need to save it,” he said, wondering, “how can you save a functional college” that has in about six months under his leadership achieved a lot? “This is political and it must stop, because it is about time to separate politics from academics,” he said.
He alleged that that there are some people at the college who hate to change, “because they want me do the same old things, the same old ways, which will not work.”
The ongoing fracas seems to have jeopardized the pending commencement exercise as protesting instructors have vowed to ensure that unless their demands are met, the planned program would be a mere illusion.
The December 21 planned convocation, marking the third graduation of the college since it was established in 2010, appears to be threatened due to the current tension.
GBCC registrar Amos Gibson said despite the distribution of clearances, all activities on the campus are now on hold due to the mounting tension.