12 April 2007

Liberia: Protest At AMEU

Students of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) on Camp Johnson Road yesterday staged a protest action against demands by the university administration for each student of the university to pay 80% of the required tuition fees for second semester 2006/2007 before they would be allowed in class.

As early as 8:00 a.m. yesterday, the students converged on the university campus on Camp Johnson Road carrying placards and banners protesting against what they called "Bad Policy" adopted by the administration in the on going registration process of the institution.

Some of their banners read: "Why allow over 2,000 students out of school because of your bad registration policy? Why should you be enemies of progress? Is it because you have earned your degree? Where is the over US$200,000 received annually from the school board based in the United States.?"

Before they started the protest action, the students gathered in front of the Hatcher-Henning Norris Human Resource Building of the university, to listen to an address from the President of the Student Union, Alieu Nyei.

Nyei told the students in his address that the student government would be resolute in making sure that administration reduce the 80% demand on all tuition fees to 50% as a way of getting more students registered for the coming semester.

After his address, the aggrieved students took to the main street of Camp Johnson thereby setting up road- blocks and preventing vehicles from plying the street.

Their action prevented the normal flow of traffic, which prompted officers of the Liberian National Police to swiftly move to the area.

Despite the arrival of the police, the students continued their protest action while the police stood aside and watched.

Speaking to this paper in an interview while the protest action was in progress, Student Union President, Nyei, said the administration has created bottlenecks that have made the entire registration process very slow.

He said because of the current demand by administration for 80% payment in all registration fees, less than 1000 students of the over 3,000 student populace at the university have registered while the others are yet to go through the process since it started on March 19, 2007.

According to him, the student leadership wrote to the administration requesting them to reduce the demand from 80% to 50%, but noted that the administration has remained adamant to adhere to the request.

The Student Union President then wondered why the administration is making such a huge demand on the students when the university is receiving an annual grant of over US$200,000 as subsidy from the government.

He added that because the registration process is so slow due to the demand of the administration, classes were yet to commence even though the administration drew up a schedule last Monday.

When the Acting Chair of the Interim Management Team, Madam Josephine Frances was contacted on the issue, she was reported to be out of office. The Vice President for Academic Affairs could not be contacted because he was also out of his office.

However, our reporter met the Dean of Student Affairs, who simply told our reporter, "No Comment."

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