Both campuses (Capitol Hill and Fendell) of the University of Liberia on November 25 and 26 were scenes of class disruptions, fighting and vandalism when students felt irritated by an alleged sluggish and procrastinating registration process that they say may affect them at the end of the semester.
Earlier, students had learnt that registration was ending on Saturday, November 26, the deadline that sparked huge convergences at the Business and Finance Office (BFO) to pay their fees and have guaranteed statuses.
On the Capitol Hill Campus on November 25, the irritated students led by the campus-based group, popularly known as SUP militants, entered every classroom and office except the administrative building and disrupted every activity.
They claimed that their action was predicated upon what they referred to as “the abnormality in the registration process, ranging from inefficient and ineffective BFO staff to the inconsistency of the Electronic Data Processing (EDP) system.”
“These people are very ineffective. They will come to work at 10:30 a.m. and leave at 2:00 p.m. When they were in need of a job, they showed dedication; but after getting it, they become gods to themselves without regard for those they are working for. And much of the delay is intended to create the condition that will cause desperate students to pay them extra money (bribes) apart from the fees they have to pay,” an agitated student expressed.
While the Daily Observer was on the Capitol Hill campus on Friday, November 25, BFO workers were seen with their bank slips and other documents rushing out after their offices were vandalized. Students, too, were rushing out of classes to prevent any danger to their persons from chairs that were thrown across the campus.
On the Fendell Campus on Saturday, November 26, about 1,000 students who had gone earlier to complete their registrations waited up to 10:50 a.m. before BFO and EDP workers could arrive.
The students were divided into categories, those who were submitting their pink sheets to be billed, the group that waited to get bank slips to make payment, those who have paid money and were waiting for verification, and those waiting to receive their final UL receipts.
When the BFO workers commenced work, there were people in offices partitioned by plywood collecting pink sheets from those outside of the queue on gratuity, which sparked off disturbances at the process.
“We will disorganize the queue. Since last week when I paid money to get verification and my UL receipt, I have been coming here paying transportation fare every day. But when I come, people will always be inside getting papers from people who are not in the queue. Why should I be marginalized that way?” said an angry student.
On Fendell Campus students engaged in fistfights as they struggled for space and broke the plywood partitioning the offices.
When the disturbances intensified, the BFO workers hastily packed their documents and escaped the scene, leaving many students disappointed.
“Since I made payment two weeks ago, I have not been able to do my verification due to the slow process and huge crowds here; and they are talking about deadline being today. Why will the UL Administration fail to supervise the process but leave all with these people who come to work late and leave soon? And how do they expect us to complete our process on time?” a male student expressed frustration.
Some BFO workers who escaped the students’ wrath were heard accusing the students while walking towards the new Academic Building (referred to as the Chinese Building).
Boasting that they had nothing to lose, the BFO staff claimed that the students were recalcitrant and impatient,.
When the UL Relations Office was contacted, the Communication Director, Thomas Boakai, said he could not speak on the issue because he has not received authorization from Vice President Att. Norris Tweah to do so.
However, Mr. Boakai said they were in the process of planning the graduation program that should commence early December, and that all will go well and as chronicled.
When Att. Tweah was contacted Sunday afternoon, he replied that a text message must be sent to him on any concerns.
In response, the Daily Observer sent him a text with this content: “Good afternoon, Attorney. Registration has been chaotic over the past days with students disrupting classes and fighting among themselves on both campuses. What Can UL say about this? When is the deadline for registration? EDP and BFO workers are accused for being slow and taking bribes.”
The UL Relations Vice President is yet to respond to the concern since the text was sent at 13:27 GMT on Sunday and before going to the press.