Tubman University Administration Reacts to Faculty’s Demands
... --- Calls on students to remain calm as the Board of Trustees engages both sides to find a workable and lasting solution to the conflict
The Administration of the William V.S. Tubman University says at no point in time has the President of the University, Dr. D. Elloitt Wreh-Wilson, transferred anyone with a bachelor’s degree to the classroom as claimed by the Faculty Association.
The administration in their response issued indicated the hiring of faculty is the sole responsibility of the University’s Division of Academic Affairs in concert with the Department of Human Resources and Compliance, not Dr. Wreh-Wilson’s office, contrary to the faculty’s claim.
It notes that the Tubman University Faculty Association (TUFA) fails to name the specific person with a bachelor’s degree who was purportedly transferred to the classroom.
The TU Administration says it has no knowledge of re-employing anyone who was previously dismissed ‘for stealing’ at the university as it is being alleged, explaining that criteria for appointment of faculty members are clearly articulated in the university’s academic policies and do not support an undergraduate degree holder becoming an assistant professor.
But Members of the faculty association of the University recently staged an indefinite go-slow over alleged administrative management and other excesses, calling for the replacement of the University's President, Dr. D. Elloitt Wreh-Wilson.
Located in Harper, Maryland County, Tubman University is the second public university in Liberia next to the University of Liberia, which has campuses in Monrovia, Fendell, and Grand Cape Mount County, respectively.
Addressing a press conference on the TU campus on Monday, February 28, the president of the TU Faculty Association Mr. Francis Fukah frowned at the university administration for allegedly boycotting their induction ceremony, which he said sends a clear message that enough is enough from constant insults and intransigence of the administration.
Mr. Fukah recounts that since December 20, 2021, they have been engaging the administration on campus to provide redress to issues affecting faculty members.
"What kind of president tells lecturers and professors that they don't have brains, that they are useless if they drank more than a bottle of beer a week; what kind of president tells his faculty members they are "bloody liars", that he spent US$4,000 to dig his late wife's grave whereas we just do our own anyhow here in Liberia; what kind of president goes on record to dissolve the board of a university? What kind of president calls his employees enemies? What kind of president tells you who to befriend? What kind of president calls students’ dogs? WE WILL NOT WORK WITH SUCH A PRESIDENT", the faculty announced via a press release.
However, on the question of salary cuts, the University in their statement claimed that the Pro-Poor Cuts of 3.5%, 5%, 7.5%, and 10% respectively was done during the first half of 2018, based on Government’s policy intended to address payroll issues, and not the making of, or unique to, Tubman University as it is being purported.
Similarly, it says salary harmonization, which is different from the Pro-Poor Cuts, was also the government’s fiscal policy intended to address salary disparities across all three branches of government (Executive, Judiciary, and the Legislature) and not peculiar to TU.
The administration adds that this was further clarified by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Civil Service Agency in a zoom meeting held with the University which TUFA members allegedly declined to attend.
“To that effect, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Civil Service Agency (CSA) have committed to work with all stakeholders to address the issues of harmonization and any disparities in the payroll”, the administration reveals.
It says the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the Civil Service Agency (CSA) have agreed to set up a joint team to visit and work with TU’s administration to probe the issues of salary increment and any possible disparity in pay among faculty, clarifying that TU does not have the authority to automatically raise salaries for its employees.
It says TU’s payroll is controlled by the MFDP and the CSA, both of which must approve such increases, and that tenure and promotions for faculty are performance-based.
The University further notes that as a matter of best practice in higher education the world over, the faculty, not administration, normally organizes promotion and tenure committees. “Regrettably, despite constant reminders by the administration, the faculty is yet to establish said committees.”
On the question of housing and housing allowances, the administration further reveals that following the February 17, 2022 meeting held at the University’s conference room, the President’s cabinet reached the decision to abolish the collection of maintenance fees from resident faculty members, and it is, therefore, surprising that TUFA would again raise this same issue.
Additionally, the administration says it introduced maintenance fees collection to enable repairs and maintenance of facilities, while the Cabinet also agreed to avail all records collection and expenditure of the maintenance fees to a certified public accountant for audit purposes as requested by TUFA.
Administration reminds TUFA that a formal contract existed between SAAR Insurance and Tubman University to provide group insurance, and premiums paid are non-refundable, adding the insurance contract was renegotiated and canceled based on complaints from employees that SAAR’s services were unfavorable.
Contrary to TUFA’s claims that the University has refused to give audience to plights of its members, the administration says it held three meetings in February alone, including the zoom meeting with the MFDP and CSA, to resolve issues raised by them.
Meanwhile, the administration calls on students of TU to remain calm as the Board of Trustees engages with both sides to find a workable and lasting solution to the conflict in the best interest of the parties, especially the students.
“As a university family, we must now realize that peace and tranquility are indispensable for a conducive learning environment. The university also encourages all members of the faculty to return to the classroom, and implore the leadership of TUFA to return to the negotiation table especially now that the Board of Trustees is involved”, the statement concludes.