MONROVIA – In the wake of the disturbances that rocked the Main Campus of the University of Liberia on Monday, March 13, 2022, which resulted to injuries on some students, the Administration of the institution yesterday, Thursday, March 16, 2023, took some far reaching decisions, among which were the suspension with immediate effect student politics on all UL campuses until further notice, condemning the incident and setting up a probe panel to investigate the situation.
Speaking on a live podcast yesterday on the main campus, the President, Dr. Julius J.S. Nelson, said the suspension comes in the wake of the many violent disturbances on the University campuses, stressing that students are mandated to keep in strict conformity to this pronouncement. Violators would be severely sanctioned in keeping with the UL Revised Student Handbook.
“Accordingly, no political group shall assemble or hold meetings or engage in any politically-related activities on any of the University of Liberia campuses during this period of suspension.
“The suspension affects political/solidarity marches, political gatherings, the wearing of symbols and emblems depicting and promoting campus-based political groups, student protests, among others”, Dr. Nelson said..
He said at the same time, the UL Administration condemns in the strongest possible terms the violent disturbances that erupted on the UL Capitol Hill campus on Monday, March 13, 2023, and by extension all such incidents.
“Additionally, the UL Administration commissions an immediate independent investigation to probe the Monday disturbances, which led to the cancellation of classes and injuries to students and others.
“The committee is headed by Professor T. Debey Sayndee, Director, Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT).
The UL Administration ensures and commits the full protection and safety of all students/staff/faculty and users of the facilities and services of the University.
“Meanwhile, UL students are reminded that the Revised UL Student Handbook strictly prohibits the use of disruptive noises, violence, and vandalism on all its campuses”, he concluded.
It can be recalled that on Monday, March 13, 2022, the main campus of the University was plunged into a major disturbance, disrupting normal academic activities when Representative Acarious Moses Gray of District #8, Montserrado County defied the objection to his visit on campus by the Student Unification Party (SUP) which resulted into open clashed between supporters of Gray and members of SUP.
Representative Gray who had earlier planned to have lunch with beneficiaries of his scholarship program and also sensitize his constituents on the ensuing biometric voters registration, was prevailed upon by some of his colleagues not to go ahead with his planned visit but he refused all the pleas and went ahead to storm the campus with his supporters, mostly thugs.
Curiously enough, when he arrived on campus with his group, all shops and entertainment have closed for business, thus making his visit fruitless and he could not have the planned lunch and hold the sensitization program with his constituents.
There has been no reaction from the student community that has been affected by this stern decision taken by the government to curtail their political activities
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice Cllr. Frank Musa Dean has mandated the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Col. Patrick Sudue, to conduct a thorough investigation into the standoff that happened on the Capitol Hill campus of the University of Liberia on Monday, March 13.
According to a press release from the Ministry of Information and signed by Minister Ledgerhood J. Rennie, Cllr. Dean called on the police IG to file a report to his office in the “soonest” following his inquest into the violent incident, which led to injuries and the destruction of properties. The melee occurred amongst rival student supporters of two Liberian lawmakers.
“The Government has however reiterated that while it is committed to protecting fundamental rights – including freedom of expression and assembly – it will not tolerate violence of any kind”, the release said.