ULFA Shuts Down UL; Violent Protest Ensues -But UL President Calls For Calm

With the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) forcing the temporary closure of the University occasioned by violent student protest, the President of the University of Liberia has called on the students of the university to be calm as he was doing everything possible to address the issues raised in the resolution of the UL faculty Association. The call of the UL President was in response to the protest by the student community in which amongst other things they called for the return of their instructors and professors into the classrooms and the renovation of the University facilities, especially on the Capitol Hill Campus.

The students took to the streets yesterday making their demands at the time that UL President Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson was being hosted on the OK FM to address the boycott of classes by the faculty  against salary disparities amongst others.

The decision by the teachers came as a result of the meeting of ULFA last Saturday, September 18, 2021 at the Capitol Hill Campus were some faculty staff contended that that there are some support staff making more in salaries than faculty staff, and noted that there were even disparities in the salaries of faculty and staff that do not reflect qualification.

But Dr. Nelson called for calm saying that the grievances of the faculty were being handled with the appropriate authorities.

Speaking on the OK FM yesterday, the UL President said UL is a state run University, and that the solution by the faculty has been taken to the government through the Ministry of Finance to address the issue of salary disparities as flagged.

“I have already spoken with the faculty and asked them to remain calm. I am scheduled to meet with them again to tell them the outcome of my negotiation with the government,” he said. He said that by Wednesday this week he is expected to meet with the faculty, and that the student should remain calm as he is making efforts to address the problems.

He also said it was not proper for the students to move their agitation from the campus into the streets, noting that blocking the streets is an infringement on the rights of those who were going about their daily businesses and had nothing to do with the problem on the campus.

The UL President further addressed the call for the renovation of the University campus. He said the government agreed to renovate the campus and asked him to cost the renovation, saying however that it is not possible for now because renovating the campus will cause the school to close down for not less than two weeks.

Asked on rebuilding the entire Capitol Hill campus, Dr. Nelson acknowledged the fact that the infrastructures on that campus were very old and needed replacement, pointing out that besides the fact that they are very old, the war had affected them and that some of the buildings have cracks in them.

Meanwhile, the President used the show to break the good tidings from the recent visit of the University’s delegation that visited the Republic of Sierra Leone as guests of the University of Sierra Leone.

He said the trip was made possible based on an invitation given to his administration by Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio when he spoke at one of the Centennial convocations of the UL. He noted that negotiations have since been underway, adding that he led a broad-based representation of the University of Liberia family drawn from students to administration to faculty staff.

According to him, his delegation met various universities in Sierra Leone including his host, the University of Sierra Leone which had incorporated the Fourah Bay College and had discussions with them.

He pointed out that each cell of the delegation engaged their counterparts, and added that an exchange program which will later come to fruition was discussed.

During the trip, he also disclosed that the delegation met with the secretariat of the Mano River Union headed by Ambassador Medina Wesseh who happens to be a daughter and discussions were healthy.

“I told the MRU that they should incorporate the Universities into their agenda because they are research-based institutions.” He reminded them that there cannot be development and genuine peace in the region without the Universities, and added that this is why it is important to make them part of the MRU’s agenda.

Meanwhile the UL President said the University of Sierra Leone is expected to reciprocate the visit of the University of Liberia by coming here for further discussions.

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