Academic activities at Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County came to a standstill last week following a strike action by the faculty.
According to our Bong County Correspondent, Marcus Malayea, the faculty, headed by J. Lepolu Torlon, took the decision because the CU administration failed to pay their two-month salary arrears.
Mr. Torlon told our Correspondent that the Cuttington University administration is holding onto professors’ salaries on grounds that they did not attend a teacher orientation workshop scheduled in August prior to the opening of school.
Mr. Torlon also claimed that there was no rule in the faculty constitution or the CU policy to withhold teachers’ salaries if they did not attend an orientation workshop.
Whether or not this claim is true, the concern now is that for the sake of the students and harmony on campus, the administration should deal decisively with the problem by negotiating with the teachers to get students back in school to ensure that their right to learning is not denied.
There are reasons why the CU administration should see it expedient to act promptly toward solving the unfolding problems.
The university has a long history of being an ideal place for learning because of its location and religious background.
Unlike public institutions that have a history of rioting and subsequent go-slows due to corruption, unruly behavior of students and or problematic labor practices, many parents attach value to private institutions such as Cuttington, and have often preferred sending their children there rather than to public institutions.
By virtue of the fact that Cuttington University is guided by religious principles that compel people therein to be conscientious and at peace with all people, many parents count on it as the right place to mold the youth for a better future.
Cuttington, thanks to its sound science and social science instructions, has produced great educators and people who have gone on to become outstanding medical doctors and other professionals. In order to protect this enviable record, it is expedient that the administration and faculty uphold the institution’s eminence by doing everything possible to avoid go-slow actions or strikes tending to stall its operations.
Additionally, parents and self-supporting students pay so much more money to ensure the better education that this institution is expected to provide. Remember, our correspondent disclosed that the current registration fee at Cuttington stands at US$232.50 besides tuition, and credit fee per hour is US$35.
People make great sacrifices to pay such high fees to ensure their children’s enrollment at Cuttington, because of the impression that this university has established over many years a reputation that it can provide quality education for the Liberian people.
It is for these reasons that Cuttington is held in such high esteem. The administration, therefore, needs to feel compelled to resolve the problems currently impeding academic activities there.
Up to yesterday, our Correspondent informed us that the faculty is yet to reconsider the decision to return to classes and that students were also planning a meeting to come out with their position on the matter. The one thing we urge the students to do is to pursue a peaceful resolution to this matter.
We call on Dr. Herman Brown, the CU president, and his lieutenants to resolve the issues expeditiously and restore normalcy to the academic environment.
Dr. Brown, this year, delivered the Independence Day Oration, advising Liberians to embrace the future positively. “…we must teach and preach the basic values we wish to see in our children…we must return to basic values of respect (for ourselves, for women, and for constituted authority), fairness (in our dealings with others), integrity (when no one is looking) and duty (as a self-imposed obligation to serve the public good).”
Dr. Brown may use these same values, especially those that have to do with Fairness and Duty to solve the problem at hand on the Cuttington campus.
In terms of duty to self, to workers and to society; we urge the Brown Administration to dialogue with the faculty to resolve the differences.
We also urge the faculty association to be reasonable enough to assume an attitude of compromise.