University of Liberia students are divided over the expulsion of Alvin Wesseh and are planning to carry out further protests depending on the outcome of the ongoing controversy.
Student Alvin Wesseh, said to be a ring leader of the so called “UL militant” group which engaged in a violent demonstration on the campus on October 15, 2015, was issued a letter of expulsion. The demonstration was against Wesseh’s expulsion.
Some members of the Student Unification Party (SUP) also rose up against Wesseh’s expulsion.
On October 16 they disrupted classes on Fendell campus and on the 21st they repeated their protest on both the Fendell and Capitol Hill campuses, causing some instructors to suspend classes and the administration to convene an emergency faculty meeting.
Members of Student Democratic Alliance (STUDA), on the other hand, condemned the demonstration.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, STUDA chairman Emerson S.L. Bordolo claimed that violent demonstrations on the UL campus have always been associated with members of SUP.
He said his campus based political party and all sympathizers support the expulsion of Alvin Wesseh because he has been the head engineer of violence on the UL campus.
“For a single student 35,000 students cannot be denied their education. Some of our colleagues have been suspended and others expelled in this university, but when it is SUP, the members would always carry out violent demonstrations and we are not in support of such acts of hooliganism,” Mr. Bordolo argued.
Bordolo also said that before students can take to the street to demonstrate, they must first dialogue with the other party when controversies arise and not resort to violence, noting, “Students will always be students while instructors and administration remain in their positions.”
Expressing skepticism about the expulsion, Bordolo said the action was taken since July 29, 2014 and the UL administration is just beginning to enforce it now.
He wondered why the administration had to procrastinate in enforcing the expulsion up to this time, stressing that they are watching the situation with eagle eyes because they (STUDA) will not allow Alvin Wesseh to be part of the UL student community except a court exonerates him.
He also said his party and that of the Students Integration Movement (SIM) seem not to be popular at the university because they do not engage in violence, emphasizing that if SUP insists on reinstating Alvin, they too are gathering their supporters to counter such a decision and protect the properties of the University of Liberia.
Student Integration Movement (SIM) chairman, Eddie Mark condemned the violent demonstration and described it as counterproductive to intellectualism that is a requirement for academia.
He said the behavior demonstrated by members of SUP is in violation of the Student Hand Book Rules 6&7 which prohibit unrest and destruction of property.
Mark also alluded to other students who have been suspended or expelled by the university, but without demonstrations being staged.
“We are all students guided by the university’s policy and the law of Liberia. Alvin Wesseh will have to go out of this university in line with the rules, and if he is brought back because of pressure from SUP, there will be a chaotic tsunami on this campus,” he said.
He said they even doubt whether Wesseh is a student of the University of Liberia because most of the people who usually join the violence organized by SUP seem not to be students but outsiders.
Mark also said that the alleged violent behavior of SUP members seems to be supported by hierarchies in the administration because most of them have been members of SUP.
Moses U. Yahmia who claimed to be one of SUP’s militants denied disrupting classes but said they converged and marched to town in solidarity with their colleague Alvin Wesseh.
He said Alvin is a student advocate and was expelled from the university without due process.
He said SUP as the largest campus based political party advocates for students and is irresistible, noting that they are about to issue a petition to the UL Administration to lift the expulsion on Alvin Wesseh.
He also said if the petition does not work, they will seek redress through the courts.
Some members of SUP under the UL Palava Hut yesterday expressed their disapproval of the violent demonstration and said it was better to approach the issue diplomatically.