After months of the indefinite closure of the state-owned University of Liberia (UL), the Administration announced few days ago that “normal academic activities” are expected to resume today, Wednesday, January 29.
That announcement was the third the UL administration has made in recent times concerning the UL's reopening; but the first two times, the administration again regretted in press releases that the university could not be reopened.
The decision to reopen the institution follows the Board of Trustees’ endorsement of the partial report of the Mediation-Investigation Committee. The committee was set up with reference to the change of the Academic leadership of Dr. Wede Elliott-Brownell as vice president for Academic Affairs/Provost with immediate effect.
The Board reached the decision on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.
The Mediation Investigation Committee comprises of representatives from the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), the National Commission of Higher Education represented by the deputy director-general, Dr. Kadiker Rex Dahn, the Association of Liberian Universities, the National Civil Society and the Inter-Religious Council.
The UL crisis under review began last November when some of the students staged a series of strike actions that led to the disruption of classes.
During that period, the UL Faculty Association (ULFA) issued a statement outlining a number of grievances, particularly the continuation of the leadership of the VPAA/Provost, and announced the “disengagement” of the faculty from further classroom activities until the VPAA resigns.
These actions resulted in the closure of the University, thus depriving over the 34,000 students the opportunity to continue their education.
Meanwhile, the leadership of ULFA and UL Student Union (ULSU) have been informed about the decision of the Board and have reportedly accepted to go along with the decision by returning to classes today-Wednesday.
Meanwhile Dr. Wede Elliott-Brownell, the figure at the center of the ruckus is in the US and was reached for a comment on the matter and announcement of removal as vice president and Provost.
Dr. Brownell: "I have not yet received the press release from the University Administration. I believe they are awaiting the reaction of the Visitor to the University, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. So I have no reaction yet, until we hear from the Visitor."