- Published on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 00:30
- Written by None
Following a meticulous review of the recent riot that occurred at the state run University of Liberia (UL), the administration, over the weekend announced the expulsion of two students and the suspension of six others for one academic year respectively.
The UL administration said the decision was taken in keeping with rules governing its hand book.
Dr. S. Momolu Gataweh, Vice President for UL Relations, at a press conference held over the weekend, reaffirmed the administration’s resolve to maintain the suspension placed on students politics until the current constitution of the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) and students’ handbook are revised to meet present realities.
According to Dr. Gataweh, while elections and other political related activities remain suspended until the revision process of the handbook is completed, an interim leadership will be appointed during the course of the revision of the ULSU constitution and handbook.
The Vice President for UL Relations said the decision was based on recommendations from two separate committees that were appointed by the UL administration to probe the students’ riot that disrupted learning activities on the university campuses.
The committees were headed by astute Law Professors, David A. Jallah and Lavela Koboi Johnson of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law. The committees delve into the specifics of the students’ council elections held in July, 2012 on the main campus and Fendall, which went violent, thus leaving several persons wounded and properties destroyed.
While two students were expelled and six others suspended based on recommendations from the two committees, the UL administration also vowed to drastically deal with any student who would violate the handbook and other rules of the institution without fear or favour.
The UL administration has been reasonably cautious in dealing with the situation and the decision derived is understandable. Whilst politics on campuses is considered prelude to a wider political engagements (both on the national and international scenes), students should not negate the reality that the administration is under obligation to maintain law and order.
It was cumbersome for students to have exhibited unruly behaviour in a political process that would have been handled meticulously if they the two parties had employed the spirit of camaraderie.
The UL, like other universities around the world has a handbook that guides the conduct of not only students’ politics on campus, but every fabric of the institution to ensure the unhindered discharging of its statutory responsibility in moulding the minds of students that would assume state leadership.
Political elections, debates and other activities on campuses do not warrant the use of inflammatory remarks or confrontation to assume leadership; rather, it must reflect the broader picture of individuals that are prepared to assume the mantle of leadership outside the realm of the university.
Civility was also not applied by the various political parties when the students engaged each other in a “politics of vandalism” to express their dislike on a matter that would have been addressed by simply going through the handbook, which is a sufficient guide.
Issues of diversity will remain in any political contest, however, the way out is to be tolerant and stick to the rules of engagement.
The UL has had its share of destruction during the 14 years of carnage with its infrastructure damaged and a brain drain of adequate and qualified instructional staff. Notwithstanding, the ascendancy of Dr. Emmett Dennis, a scholarly President has helped to restore the morale of the university comparable to other University campuses around the world.
It is highly rational to conclude that UL students must maintain civility on campus and avoid confrontations so that the university would continue to produce competent graduates that would fill the gap created by years of conflict which is reason for the brain drain in our country.