Liberia: UL Suspends Student Politics Again

Some of the ex-rebel fighters at a recent press conference in Monrovia

The administration of the University of Liberia (UL) has once again announced the immediate suspension of all student groups and campus-based political activities on all of its campuses for time indefinite.

The suspension, which is the second in six months, comes less than four days to the highly publicized "Save the State" peaceful protest, slated for June 7.

The UL administration's move, according to political observers, will affect students who are both for and against the June 7 protest, who have been using the campuses to rally support for their respective causes.

According to a June 3, 2019 statement signed by the vice president for UL Relations, Norris Tweah, the suspension of student political activities comes as a result of the Monday, June 3, 2019 disturbance on the Capitol Hill campus.

According to Tweah, students run the risk of suspension or expulsion if "this emergency directive is breached."

"Accordingly, no political group shall assemble or hold meetings or engage in any politically-related activities on any of the UL campuses during this period of suspension," Mr. Tweah said.

"The suspension affects political/solidarity marches, political gatherings, the wearing of symbols and emblems depicting and promoting campus-based political groups, and student protests," the statement warned.

Meanwhile, students are being reminded that the revised UL Student Handbook, "strictly prohibits the use of disruptive noises, violence and vandalism on all its campuses."

In reaction to the UL administration's decision, Martin Kollie, a student leader accused President George Weah of masterminding the suspension of student political activities, which is intended to silence the voices of their leaders.

Kollie added: "The UL administration is not working on its own; it is rather taking instructions from the President and his associates. The action of the government is provoking, and if the move is not rescinded, it will have greater consequence."

He said no matter what, the government and the UL administration cannot stop the students from mobilizing for the June 7 protest.

"The banning of students politics is unconstitutional and shows that Liberia is returning to its dark days," Kollie said.

According to a UL release dated Friday, January 11, 2019, the University administration at the time suspended all student groups and campus-based political activities on all its campuses until further notice. "Accordingly, no political group shall assemble or hold meetings or engage in any political-related activities on any UL campus during this period of suspension," the release said.

The suspension, according to the January 2019 release, affected political/solidarity marches, political gatherings, the wearing of symbols and emblems depicting and promoting campus-based political groups as well as student protests.

But a month later, the UL administration lifted the suspension following the approval and publication of a revised Student Hand Book to govern and guide student behavior at the nation's highest institutions of learning.

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