The administration of the University of Liberia (UL), has launched a campaign calling on all alumni of the state-run university to come in with contribution to paint buildings on its campuses.
The launch marked by poor turnout took place on April 28, 2015 on the Capitol Hill campus of the university.
Many buildings of the university can hardly be identified by colors as paint once rubbed on them is being totally wiped out.
UL President Dr. Emmet A. Dennis said government being the key supporter of the university is facing financial emergency to the extent that the university Administration is unable to receive the needed funds to address the numerous problems including painting of buildings.
He attributed the cause of the financial problem partly to the Ebola crisis, but assured faculty and staff that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is working with the UL authority to address the crisis.
Dr. Dennis indicated that he is always depressed when he sees buildings on the UL campuses with colors that have become impossible for one to identify.
“When I walk to the building hosting the Business College and see the condition, and when I go to the Fendell campus and see the Academic Building in its present condition, I am depressed,” he lamented.
Dr. Dennis intoned, “If I have the power to tell all UL alumni working in government and private sector to halt work for a week, the entire country will collapse.”
He said products of the UL are all over Liberia and in foreign lands that if they contribute a gallon of paint to the painting campaign, it will make an immense impact to give the campuses facelift.
Even though UL has products spread across Liberia and other parts of the world working in different sectors, the launch that was expected to bring together huge number of alumni was poorly attended with Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samulkai, Jr., being the only high ranking government official that attended the ceremony out of thousands of high profile individuals, who have academic link with the UL.
While serving as the chief launcher of the project, Samukai called on fellow alumni to see the project as an obligation for all of them as well as the students.
He said endowment in various universities across the world is carried out by alumni, and therefore alumni of the UL and Liberians in general should learn to undertake projects for the development of their institutions and country.
He also warned UL students to avoid using violence to destroy properties of the institution as being seen over the past years, noting, “I was a student here and got out here in 1984, but we did not form “Militant” group to destroy the institution’s properties. If you are a militant, please let not your militancy destroy what we are building.”
Minister Samulkai donated 40 gallons of paint to the UL and pledged to do more if others would exceed his number.
Among the few alumni working in the private sector that attended the launch was the president of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John Davis, former Finance Minister, David Fahart, Thomas Doe-Nah of the Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, UL Alumna Association president, James Davis and UL faculty and staff.
Mr. John Davis pledged 50 gallons of paint in his own name and 100 in the names of alumni working at the LBDI.
Others after him also expressed disappointment for poor information dissemination about the launch, something which suggests that the UL Relations did not do much to give information about institution that has huge products across Liberia and the world.
Attempt made to contact UL Relations Vice President, Att. Norris Tweh on the poor attendance proved futile as he refused to talk to the press.
Meanwhile, the call for painting buildings on the UL’s campuses has been described as a worthy one considering the dilapidating state in which the institution is in.
Besides the Cassel Building hosting the president and other administrators, the building hosting the Graduate Program and the Firestone Quarter (FQ) square, the rest of the buildings on the Capitol Hill cannot be identified by color anymore.
For the Fendell campus, only the newly constructed Chinese Building poses a magnificent outlook on the outside, but the Academic Building, Science Complex and Engineering Building are without colors.
Equipment and iron planted desks and chairs in these buildings were also looted during the civil crisis, and has since the end of the war, being replaced.