As the governing body of the University of Liberia, the Board of Trustee should have vehemently condemned in the strongest terms possible the brutal and inhumane act meted out to Dr. Wede Elliott Brownell, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Liberia on both the Capitol Hill and Fendall campuses on Friday, the 22nd of November 2013.
There should be absolutely no room in our culture for a lady, or any member of the University of Liberia family to be treated with the level of animosity that was directed at Dr. Brownell. It was unacceptable for students and/or faculty members to have used violence against Dr. Brownell in any context, especially as a means of expressing their disagreement with her management style. All Liberians, especially the University of Liberia family, should feel a sense of outrage that violence has been normalized within the larger society and particularly within this premier academic institution.
Dr. Brownell is somebody’s mother, who relocated to Liberia to bring about transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is stressing the importance of educational quality and the development of new knowledge and competence as means to obtain technological and economic growth as well as adaptation to innovation and change at the University of Liberia. Today it is Dr. Brownell, who will the next victim be? Is this what she deserved from the University Board of Trustees?
I couldn’t agree more with the Deputy Police Director for Operations, Col. Abraham Kromah, when he said, “The University of Liberia students should desist from violent approaches in seeking redress to their problems.” Many Liberians are asking, what hope does this nation have, if the intellectual class can resolve to resolution of issues with violence?
No situation warrants or justifies such a cruelty and incivility on the part of students and/or faculty members at the University of Liberia. To see a faculty representative wearing full military garb while addressing students in a post-war environment sends a chilling feeling down the spine of many Liberians. He has a moral responsibility to instill into his students the understanding of the rule of law; therefore he should be immediately dismissed. It speaks clearly of the trauma that this nation suffered. It is for this reason that every student and faculty most especially faculty members must join the chorus in condemning what happened to Dr. Brownell. We all should know by now that the use of casket at the University of Liberia paraded on campus is a throwback to the pre-war years and precedents that set the stage for war and pillage in our society. To have vandalized Dr. Brownell’s home is a clear indication of acting on personal vendetta that cannot be condoned.
Leaders at the University of Liberia have a moral duty not to incite or provoke their peers with language full of hate. Such act of criminality perpetrated against Dr. Brownell was unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in our society. Members of the faculty and student who participated and/or encouraged these actions must be removed from the University family and prosecuted with the harshest penalty possible.
At the time when the President of the Republic of Liberia is going the extra mile to restore academic standards to the University of Liberia; the President and members of the University family should continue to stand up to the values of conflict resolution in a non-confrontational manner so as to maintain the integrity of the University.
These violent acts are setting a dangerous precedent and should be condemned without any reservation by all Liberians, especially the members of the University of Liberia family, including the Board of Trustees. All Liberians demand that those persons who are responsible for the actions should not go unpunished. Therefore, The President of the University should direct the University Police department to fully cooperate with the Liberian National Police (LNP) in apprehending those responsible for these violent actions, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. This from our perspective will restore confidence at the university. Furthermore, we suggest that all student and faculty organizations operating at the University of Liberia be immediately suspended pending full investigation.
The Board of Trustees should and must stand with her during these difficult times by taking the following actions:
- A thorough investigation to indentify the students and faculty involved.
- Immediate expulsion of the students and faculty involved, and names forward to the police for prosecution.
- Immediate employment termination of the head of the University of Liberian Faculty Association (ULFA).
Enough is Enough!
About the Author:
Rufus S. Berry II, MBA (An anti-corruption activist and Managing Partner/CEO of B&G, a financial and management consulting firm). Mr. Berry is the author of many articles including:, “Liberia's Long History of Corruption, Facilitated by Citizens that Turn a Blind Eye on the Government”, “Mr. John S. Morlu II: You disappointed Thousands of Liberians”, “Preemptive Health Measures will save Thousands of Liberian Lives: Ban Smoking in Public Places”, and “Shame on Liberia’s Ministry of Health for Harboring an Alleged Child Molester and Fugitive from Justice”.
Mr. Berry can be reached at +231-886-362332, or [email protected]