15 November 2017

Liberia: University of Liberia Students Protest Closure of Registration for New Semester

Fendell Campus — Early Wednesday morning of November 15, hundreds of students were seen demonstrating on the campus of the University of Liberia Fendell Campus for the reopening of the school's registration process.

The demonstration was led by the Fendell Students Association (FENSA), a student movement that is involved in the advocacy of the rights of students in the university.

The demonstration was also seen as not quite peaceful as a vehicle (grey Nissan Altima marked A36161) belonging to a student was allegedly damaged by some aggrieved student protesters while on the rampage to forcibly demand the UL authority to reopen the registration process.

According to the aggrieved students, the University administration has refused to listen to the concerns confronting the student body after several engagements with the university's management, causing academic hardship for the over 5,000 students who have been left out of the process.

"Almost two weeks we have been taking the necessary approach to the administration. We went by taking the diplomatic approach: we wrote two communications for them to extend the registration process but they told us in our faces that the process has ended.

In this regard, we cannot guarantee the stay of Dr. Ophelia Weeks at the university if she does not open the process. We are ready to match into history today, the process must be open for our comrades," FENSA said.

In an interview with FrontPage Africa (FPA), FENSA Chairman Heylove W. Mark said it is time that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf intervenes in the situation unfolding at the university to mandate the administration of the institution (UL) to reopen the registration for the over 5,000 students who have been left out of the process.

"An attempt by the administration to refuse to open the registration process, the University of Liberia will be history, and the President of Liberia will be history because she is a Visitor to the campus and it is about time that she comes now and visits this campus, because of what is happening here today.

The students are the history makers in every societies and when the students are angry their actions is never been judge, and we don't want to take the national scene."

He continued: "We don't want to barricade the President's convoy; we don't want to barricade the VP Joseph Boakai's convoy. We are inviting them to mandate the president of the university to open the process from now until January," he said.

He said FENSA will not bow down to cowards and sit reluctantly and watch the administration of the University to academically mishandle the affairs of the student body due to what he terms as "administrative ignorance".

"As comrades and militants, we cannot sit here and receive administrative ignorant been leached on our fellow comrades. We will not bow down to cowards; we will not sit here, we will demand administration today to open the process," Chairman Mark said.

Chairman Mark added that the over 35,000 students of the University are the final decision makers in the institution, asserting that any attempt by any administrator to disenfranchise the student body will be crushed.

"The students of the University of Liberia are not experimental guinea pigs. We are citizens of this country and we must have quality tertiary education to our disposal. Any attempt to disenfranchise the students of the University of Liberia, we can assure you that you will be crushed.

The over 35,000 students of the University of Liberia are the final decision markers at this institution," FENSA Chairman noted.

FENSA Chairman noted that since the emerging of the current semester only 19,000 students have registered thus far while about 10,000 students have been left out of the process in dismay and are yet to register.

"UL is not meant for profit maximization; you came at this institution and told us that our libraries are dilapidated, you told us that the buildings need to be reformed for which you increased tuition from L$175 to US$4.

As we speak, the bath rooms, boxers and the buildings remain a serious challenge in the school and we want to assure you that the next debate on this campus will be the painting of the buildings," he said.

Chairman Mark further said any clever attempt by UL authority to deny the over 5,000 students access to their fundamental rights, there will be mass demonstration at the National Elections Commission and the Supreme Court of Liberia to halt all political processes until their demands are met by national government.

"When the students of the University of Liberia cannot go to school, thwy won't be allowed to proceed. Because we will amass ourselves, rent the NTA buses and enthrone our ways to the Supreme Court and the National Elections Commission," he said.

In response to the aggrieved students, UL Vice President and Public Relations Officer, Atty. Norris Tweah, said the registration process for the academic year of 2017/2018 has finally been ordered closed by the authority of the university.

"The administration of the University of Liberia wishes to remind all students that the first semester registration of 2017/2018 academic year has finally come to an end as of Friday, November 10, 2017.

Therefore, all registration activities are hereby ordered closed," he said.

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