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GOL Intervention in UL Saga Commendable, But…

Following two days of violent protest by some students’ action at the University of Liberia last week, the Government of Liberia, through the Education Ministry, has announced the payment of tuition fees of two-thousand students. They were affected by the decision of the University Administration to finally close the process of registration for this academic semester.

The intervention of the Government of Liberia in ensuring that the two-thousand students complete the registration procedures, has afforded the students another opportunity for one week, beginning Friday, November 1, to be back in school. While the Liberian Government must be commended for its intervention only because it doesn’t want any violence that would result to the interruption of the academic calendar of the university, the leadership of the UL Student Union or ULSU and the so-called aggrieved students must be cautioned against actions that are inimical to peace, security and their academic growth.

Granted the UL Administration had abruptly halted the process of registration, ULSU and its scholarship beneficiaries should have exercised some degree of intellectual maturity by constructively engaging the UL Administration, and not to instigate such violent protest that disrupted the normal work and classes, including those of the graduate program on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It is no secret that students of the university had ample time to begin and complete process of registration; but again, the “Liberian mentality” on the part of the Leadership and students,  relative to respect for time may have played a role in the registration saga last week. The University of Liberia 2013-2014 academic schedule which was released in August this year, allocated the entire September 2-7, for seniors; second week, 9-14; for juniors; third week, 16 to 21 for sophomores and the fourth week, 23-28 for freshmen-a calendar that was announced on radio, as well as published in the newspapers.

To further accommodate its students, the UL Administration extended the registration from October 3rd to the 10th with a late registration fee of LD$150.00, but when students complained of inadequate time, administration again announced that the registration should continue while classes were in session, so that students who had already registered could proceed with classes and at the same time permit those who were looking for money and scholarship to have opportunity to register.

“First semester 2013/2014 ends Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Mid-semester examination will be conducted from Monday, November 18, 2013 to Saturday, November 23, 2013. The University cannot meet these deadlines or complete the semester curriculum when we take three months to register our students,” noted a statement issued last Thursday by the UL Administration following the intervention of the Government of Liberia. With such a lengthy registration and grace period for students, what more again the UL Administration could have done?

With such a common-ground fostered by the Liberian Government, it would be important for a meeting of the minds between ULSU and UL authorities to discuss the issue of scholarship backed by a policy that would ensure part-payment of tuition fees by scholarship donors during the process of registration to avoid a repeat of last week’s ULSU-violent protest.

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As we commend the Government of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for such quick intervention to underwrite to tuition of the two-thousand delinquent students, there must also be measures in place to prevent violence on the campuses of the University of Liberia.

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