In the wake of her rejection by the Senate Committee on Education, Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell has asked that her nomination for the post of Education Minister be withdrawn and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has agreed.
Last Thursday the Senate Committee on Education and Public Administration (EPA) in its confirmation hearing report said that it was recommending to the plenary to reject Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell because “she is not a Liberian citizen.”
According to an Executive Mansion statement, President Sirleaf has accepted the request of Dr. Davis-Russell to withdraw her nomination. Dr. Davis-Russell has, however, consented to serve as Chair of the Education Advisory Council.
Meanwhile the Deputy Education Minister for Planning, Research and Development-designate, Mr. Anthony A. Nimely, was recommended by EPA for confirmation to the Senate Plenary.
Dr. Davis-Russell, a veteran educator, who is currently president of William V. S. Tubman University in Maryland County, became the second nominee from President Sirleaf’s recent slate of new appointments to be rejected by the Senate. The first was Health Minister-designate Mr. George Werner.
The EPA committee, chaired by Rivercess County Senator, Dallas A. V. Gueh, did not elaborate further in its report or give more reasons as to why Dr. Davis Russell should not be confirmed.
Dr. Davis-Russell has to her high credit transformed Tubman Technical College into a full fledge university and revolutionized the academic standard and capacity to the benefit of students from the Southeast and the country.
She was expected to replace former Education Minister Etmonia D. Tarpeh, who was transferred to the National Investment Commission (NIC). Minister Tarpeh served the MOE from two years — 2012 to 2014.
In a letter to President Sirleaf last week, Dr. Davis-Russell cited her United States of America citizenship as an obstacle to her ability to serve effectively in the position of Education Minister.
Moreover, she expressed concern that her abrupt departure from the William V.S. Tubman University without a planned succession has already set off a process that could undermine the quality of instruction and the reputation that she has created for TU over the last two years.
During her confirmation hearing, Dr. Davis-Russell warned that in order to build a conscious and educated society, the educational sector needs to get rid of those she described as “bench warmers”.
She was appointed president of the William V.S. Tubman College of Technology (now William V.S. Tubman University) in October 2007 and assumed leadership of the institution in July 2008.