UL Suspends Student Political Activities

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Any student who is involved in any activity that disrupts normal university activities shall be expelled, the University of Liberia has warned. Pictured: UL President Ophelia Inez Weeks.

The Administration of the University of Liberia (UL) has with immediate effect, suspended all student groups and campus-based political activities on all its campuses until further notice, a release said on Friday, January 11, 2019.

Accordingly, no political group shall assemble or hold meetings or engage in any political-related activities on any UL campus during this period of suspension.

The suspension, according to the release, affects political/solidarity marches, political gatherings, the wearing of symbols and emblems depicting and promoting campus-based political groups as well as student protests.

Henceforth, any student who is involved in any activity that disrupts normal university activities shall be expelled, the release warned.

Meanwhile, UL students are reminded that the UL Student Handbook strictly prohibits the use of violence as a means of solving problems.

“Rules 9, 10 and 11 of the UL Student Handbook states: “No student shall for any cause whatever insult, assault or batter teachers, staff, fellow students and other university personnel or visitors to the University campus.

“Insubordination shall not be tolerated, hostile and disrespectful behavior towards university authorities, government officials, visitors or university personnel and the use of provocative, abusive or other obscene language on campus, whether against government officials, university employees, other students or otherwise, is prohibited. The penalty for violation shall range from warning and suspension to expulsion as the gravity of the case might warrant.”

The university remains open and students are encouraged to attend classes, especially during this period of mid-term exams. The release is signed by Norris Tweah, vice president for UL Relations.

SUP Reacts

In a related development, the leadership of the Student Unification Party (SUP), in defiance of the university’s Administration order that suspended student political activities early Friday, immediately held a rally on the main campus of the university, sending stinging attacks against the UL administration and the Government of Liberia.

The student political group, through its chairman Edison Tigban and standard bearer Martin Kollie, described the university’s decision to suspend student activities a “submission to its slave masters, and disregard for the rights of students.”

The student party said they will resist the decision, stating that any attempt by the university authorities and the government to enforce said decision, will meet full resistance from the student body.

They characterized the current government as the hands behind such decision, adding, “the decision is intended to stop the students advocacy against ills in government, such as corruption and other issues relative to poor governance.

The SUP leaders used the opportunity to rally the support of student bodies from other universities, emphasizing that anything that affects the UL directly or indirectly, affects all students around the country.

It is not clear how the UL administration and the government are going to respond to SUP’s defiance, but history of SUP’s defiance has had disastrous endings over the last few decades.

14 COMMENTS

  1. In a civilized society, when a group of citizens believe their government policy violates their constitutional rights as in this case, they take their case to court. Threatening or using violence to solve policy disputes is not the civilized norm. I think the student’s complaint has legal merit, so why not hire a lawyer and make your case at the Supreme Court? The country has seen too much violence and we need to do all we can to avoid it. I believe you student leaders will garner more public support and respect if you handle this matter intellectually.

    • Go to court? Naw, in Liberia, students have no voice within the justice system, especially where the Executive branch controls the Judiciary and legislative branches of government. You said “The country has seen too much violence and we need to do all we can to avoid it.” Well, maybe the UL and the government of Liberia should reconsider their decisions to avoid the past.

      • Yes, go to the Supreme Court. That’s why we have a SC so when the government violates the rights of citizens, you sue the government. Resorting to violence or militancy is not a civilized way to handle this situation. Don’t be ignorant.

        • Phil, many Liberians do not know that the university of Liberia is an autonomous institution. Why should someone blame president Weah for the ban on politics at the UL and compare the present situation at UL to the situation under Sgt. Doe’s military regime. The military Junta at the time issued a decree under the signature of Sgt. Doe banning students politics throughout Liberia, arrested and detained student leaders. But in this present case, it is the UL administration which suspended political activities. Martin Kollie and co are still moving around free with their ma curse militancy. Who would have insulted Doe or Taylor’s ma and live to tell the story? I think this government is tolerant.

  2. With rumors rife regarding few enablers of students’ militancy as not only current and former members of faculty, but also higher-ups in politics and foreign agencies in Liberia, we’re amazed at this gutsy move of retaking that campus to make it convenient for learning and training of skilled men and women for the jobs that would transform the country. Because in February 2018, two UL students claiming to be Pan Africanists were writing articles about galvanizing public anger for an ostensibly popular uprising against a new government that wasn’t yet put in place.

    Unbelievably, despite an electoral mandate, the duo’s expressed motives were that former warring factions would be part of any government and GMW wasn’t from Cambridge, Oxford, or Harvard university, never mind few alumni had just bequeathed pervasive poverty and an unaccountable dysfunctional governanmce.

    We often behave like people living on an isolated island despite sharing porous borders with other countries. So, unlike our neighbors, some radicalized students use UL campus 24/7 as a national political forum even though there are over twenty registered political parties. But most elites think it’s normal. Why not, some empower and exploit student militancy for political ends. Manipulating impressible students for one’s political goal would be condemned in other MRU countries, not Liberia. Of course, our crisis-loving space is what one gets when moral voices want to be politically correct while those bent on causing chaos believe they can bluff their way out of any tight corner.

    Well, folks, we won’t be suprized when facts of the closure are loudly deemphasized and contrarian narratives overemphasized by a few whose objective, probably, is to use campus disruptions and demonstrations as a Sword of Damocles over an administration not benefiting them. Lest we forget, narcissistic anarchists masqueraded as patriots, and that’s the genesis of our civil war: Be ware, the Trojan horse.

    • Sylvester Moses its your kind that kept conspiracy going and made Doe and Taylor take drastic uncivilized actions against their own people. Now you sit in the comfort of the US while Doe is 6 feet under and Taylor is in jail. If President Weah knows any better he will not listen to a thing you have to say about national security and perceived “uprisings

  3. Sylvester Moses its your kind that kept conspiracy going and made Doe and Taylor take drastic uncivilized actions against their own people. Now you sit in the comfort of the US while Doe is 6 feet under and Taylor is in jail. If President Weah knows any better he will not listen to a thing you have to say about national security and perceived “uprisings.”

  4. “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”, a quote attributed to French Writer Charles Baudelaire said it all, Kula. Seemingly, your kind would want to hide in the shadows and throw stones. So, I can fully understand the frustrations and fears regarding probability of my advent. But next time, Kula, if you must advertise a PhD degree, write like someone with good sense for the sake of others who underwent years of hard work and rigorous scholarship to earn it.

    First, an ad homenim argument suggests lack of preparation; second, fanning falsehoods speak to character flaw; and, third, hate is just an excuse for cowardice, it strives on secrecy. FYI, I never worked with Taylor, served as security advisor to Dr Sawyer, and didn’t fool SKD who had replaced me in 1986 and got me rehired about five months before the 1989 invasion. For your own respect, Kula, show readers you’ve engaged in research for academic work by always making substantive enquiries before spewing silliness.

    • Sylvester Moses its apparent that you and your kind are dangerous for Liberian politics. It is no secret that you had Sawyer and his Black Berets violate human rights in the name of keeping the country safe. I repeat “if President Weah knows what’s good for him and Liberia, he will pay no mind to your half baked “security assessments” that led to Doe being 6 feet under, and Taylor being imprisoned.”

  5. I strongly believe and hold Dr. Weeks and the Administration of UL in high esteem that Dr. Weeks and her staff know better or should no better than to allow their Administration to be used and encourage by the George Manneh Weah-led Government to generate conflict in Liberia, particularly unnecessary conflict when and where is no conflict. The right to choose and belong to a political party, whether a student political or national political party, is and remains a statutory and constitutional right. The Republic of Liberia, is a country and/or society governed and protected by laws and not by men. Liberians residing abroad and in foreign countries, are not the experts on Liberia’s socio-political, socio-economic and socio-security issues. These so-called Experts on the political, economic and security issues of Liberia,were the very exprts that for cash and lack of credibility and integrity, mislead Liberia and its people to war, unwarranted death and untold destruction. Today, due to their advice, Liberia and Liberians are 100years backward and mortgaged to looters. Absolutely, the war in Liberia is over and Mr. SKD is no longer the President of Liberia and so the UL student body, must stay peaceful. They must petition the Supreme Court of Liberia to stay the unlawful and unconstitutional action of Dr.Weeks and her Administration. The students of UL cannot and must not be led into conflict by the UL Administration and by extension, the George Manneh Weah-led Group. When they step down low, UL students, must stand up high on moral ground. Let the laws of Liberia speak for you.

    Prohibition, will publicly defeat Dr. Weeks and her Team of UL Administrators. Whenever a system has little or nothing responsive to better the lives of its people, It will choose conflict over peace!

    UL STUDENT BODY, STAY PEACEFUL!

    • Dr. Weeks and her Administrators, know better and/or should know better never to interfere with the right to associate with and belong to any political party; whether a student or national political party. Gone are the days of SKD and his abusive era.

  6. “Well, folks, we won’t be suprized when facts… are loudly deemphasized and contrarian narratives overemphasized by a few whose objective, probably, is to use campus disruptions and demonstrations as a Sword of Damocles over an administration not benefiting them”.

    Remember, that quote – and how prescient considering subsequent scathing attacks; holy cow, Bob Marley got it right: “Who The Cap Fit”. The UL administration suspended student political activities, not on the advice of “experts” abroad, rather because it believes they were disruptive. And, henceforth, whatever UL authorities decide is there prerogative, after all, they wear the shoes. And despite chest-beating over free speech and rights of association, there is a priciple of equality of freedoms; one man’s shouldn’t infringe on the other: Not all students put premium on politics.

    With five years in few dorms on campus at FBC pursuing a BA Honors degree and a stint as minister of national security in a Student Union government, I knew of attempts by politicos to use us take the chestnut out of the fire, so to speak, for them. We noticed the same habit at home during my security service tenure. Student radicalism during TWP’s One Party State or PRC’s Military rule, in the absence of opposition political parties, didn’t seem abnormal. But with multi-party democracy and suspicions that few are being manipulated by outside interests, it should be discussed with sincerity by all stakeholders, especially, in a postwar fragile state.

    As for those who’ve been trying to silence my perspective regarding our socio-political and security landscape, they would’ve to bring something other than vanity. I’ve never been afraid to speak up when training, experience, conviction, and patriotism dictate so. Nothing empowered me more to be bullish than when I saw some of SKD’s closest generals and Security bosses bolting with their tails between their legs. The phoniness in our country by itself poses a threat to stability, say what you honestly mean “And The truth shall set you free” comes from John 8:32, not yours truly, folks.

  7. I want to thank the Daily Observer Newspapers for providing this opportunity for us to comment on such an issue of national concern. In my opinion, I think suspending political activities on the campuses of the University of Liberia is a contradiction to the learning processes of those students reading Political Science, Public Administration, etc. I think students should be able to practice what they are taught. Furthermore, the University of Liberia needs to control those who are engaged in violence behavior and always disrupting classes. I believe they should be disciplined as per the University Hand Book, which governs students conduct.

    In view of the above, my candid advice is for the University to disregard and reconsider their decision because while we were studying at the University of Liberia the political activities help us to acquired knowledge some of which we did not learn in the classroom.

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