MONROVIA: As the University of Liberia commences its first semester for the 2022/23 Academic year with a new enrolment of 22,000 students, the President of the University of Liberia, Julius Sarwolo Nelson, says the University has put into place measures that will curtail disruptions of the academic activities at the university for semester one of 2022/2023 as it was being in previous semesters.
The classes at UL, which recently graduated 1,700 students, are usually disrupted as a result of students’ political and curricular activities, a situation which has usually prolong academic semesters of the nation’s premier university, although the administration is now ready to institute measures against these disruptive activities which the institution says it stands prepared to deal with in keeping with the students’ handbook.
Prof. Dr. Nelson made specific reference to the scenario last semester 2021/2022 academic year when the University was infiltrated by invading tugs in response to a standoff between students and officials of government, which has been investigated by a committee constituted by the institution.
It can be recalled that the main campus of the state-run University of Liberia was thrown into pandemonium on Monday, March 13, 2022 when Representative Acarous Moses Gray of Electoral District #8, Montserrado County, defied the objection and threats from the Student Unification Party (SUP) opposing to his planned visit on the main campus where he promised to have lunch with the students stormed the campus with his entourage of bodyguards, supporters and associates thereby sending SUP members fleeing in all directions and retreating to hiding places.
According to Mr. Gray, who had spoken a week earlier of his planned visit to the campus, had wished to have lunch with students who are beneficiaries of his scholarship program. He also wanted to use the occasion to sensitize students from his constituency about the ensuing biometric registration exercise amongst others.
Upon getting the information of the planned visit, SUP issued a press release opposing the visit and said it was an attempt to victimize the students, and will therefore not be welcomed.
Dr. Nelson disclosed that the resultant hullabaloo of March 13, 2023 fracas between the students and Representative Gray was turned over to an investigating committee which he noted has presented its reports that are being analyzed by the authorities of the University.
Accordingly, Dr. Nelson indicated that the UL administration will put in place appropriate mechanisms to curtail a recurrence of the situation, pointing out that the UL has suspended students’ political activities as a consequence.
“The student handbook will be invoked for those who will cross the line. In that particular book, we are talking about warning, suspension and expulsion. When we made that release some time ago we said that warning was over and when you are booked there will be suspension or expulsion as reprimand to be brought to bed on those liable,” Dr. Nelson said.
However, he said before the University suspends or expels students, authorities will give every
students the benefits of the doubts by a conducting an investigation that will involved all parties identified, pointing out that an outcome of the grievance process through the Student Affairs office with recommendation will be executed, be it one semester, three semester, six semester suspension or expulsion as may be specified by the Student handbook.
He explained that people often believe that when something happens at the University without any investigation, administration should just start reprimanding students without investigation, adding “Here at this University, where each student is given a particular ID number, we will do our best to contain problems from the campus.”
“We are looking at the rules, the question of people having their student ID Cards being worn as they come on campus at the different points of inspection into the campus will be applied,” Dr. Nelson continues.
He said the University authorities are notwithstanding encouraging all who are members of the university family and visitors to be able to adhere to these regulations and be able to either wear your ID card or submit it to the UL security for inspection and proper identification before admission within the confines of the campuses of the University.
According to Dr. Nelson, people who will be coming on the university campus must submit to the University security stop for identification cards in compliance with standard regulations, and that such should not be a problem.
He maintained, “This is a University campus. When you are coming here, you are either a student or an employee; and if that is so you should be able to show your identification card.”
He said student political activities and students extracurricular activity cannot be the main thing in an academic institution, and therefore, warned “Let the main thing be the main thing, it will help all of us to reduce the tension and politics at the university”
Meanwhile, the UL President announced the Commencement of 2022/23 Academic Year yesterday on the main campus of the UL on Capitol Hill .
Addressing the press conference he said the University of Liberia concluded the exercises marking the 103rd Commencement Convocation of the “Hala-keh-meni” Class of 2022 a fortnight ago, which saw the departure of more than 1,700 students from the walls of the University into the labor market and larger society.
“During those ceremonies, we witnessed great scholarship from graduates who mounted the podium, and we were also enlightened by an ALL FEMALE lineup of convocation speakers who graced the occasion, and expressed gratitude to the institution’s partners in Government, from the RUFORUM and other institutions of higher learning for sharing the time with the University of Liberia.
As the Class of 2022 was enjoying its moment in the limelight, more than 20,000 of our current students were lurking for updates on the reopening of the University of Liberia while successful candidates from the 2022 entrance exam cycle, who are in excess of 8,000, were finalizing their digital admission process in preparation for Academic Year 2022/2023, Dr. Nelson said, adding that the focus is now on the formal commencement of Academic Year 2022/2023 and all of the related processes that will ensure a smooth and timely conduct of the First Semester before the General and Presidential Elections in October 2023.
“Cognizant of the fact that faculty and students must have time to exercise their civic rights during the electoral process in October 2023, UL President Nelson noted that for the First Semester of AY 2022/23 calendar registration will begin June 19th and end on July 8th, Classes will commence on Monday, June 26, 2023, Mid-term Exams will run from August 7thto 12th, lectures will end on September 9th and Final Exams will be conducted from September 11th to 23rd.
At the moment, Dr. Nelson disclosed that the electronic applications of more than 8,000 candidates are being processed by the Office of Enrolment Services (OES) and those successfully vetted will start receiving Admission Letters via email today, Monday, June 12, 2023, and this exercise will continue until Friday, June 30, 2023.
“On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, the Center for Testing and Evaluation, through UL Relations, released the schedule for the First Entrance & Placement Exam and Aptitude Test for the 2023 cycle. The exam and Aptitude test will run from mid-July (for Undergraduate) to early August (Graduate and Professional Schools). Registration for this year’s entrance, which began on Thursday, June 8, 2023, is being conducted completely online,” he further disclosed.
UL President Nelson said as higher education becomes more affordable through a deliberate TUITION FREE policy of the Government of Liberia, championed by The Visitor to the University of Liberia and President of the Republic of Liberia, H.E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, the management team at the university is doing its best to ensure that it is accessible and affordable without compromising its quality, commending that support given to the digitization plan of the University of Liberia which has enabled
the processing and management of over 22,000 students (and counting) without chaos.
“In my message on the final day of our convocation exercises a fortnight ago, I reiterated our commitment to maintaining an ideal staff-faculty-student ratio for which we have more than 100 members of staff and faculty in training in the region, on the continent and elsewhere in Europe, America, and Asia,” Dr. Nelson concluded.