University Of Liberia Students Barricade Meeting Room

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

May 11, 2004

Several disgruntled students of the nation’s highest institution of learning - the University of Liberia, on 6 May held members of the Trustee Board of the university hostage for several hours but the quick intervention of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) helped to save the day.

The disgruntled university students numbering about 600 took the action to demand the reduction in tuition and fees for the academic year. The students also demanded that the university authorities wave the amount owed by them.

The incident according to report gathered on the Capital Hill main campus of the university occurred while members of the Trustee Board were holding meeting to address several issues relative to the re-opening of the university. The Trustee Board is headed by Madam Theresa Leigh-Sherman.

The angry students barricaded the UL Conference room where the Trustee Board members where meeting and demanded that the Trustee take a decision regarding their demands before they would be released.

Students enrolling at the university at the undergraduate program are told to pay L$2800.00 or US$55.00 while those at the Continuing Education are also asked to pay L$4,400.00 or US$80.00 per student for an academic semester.

But the students argued that around the world no university ever charges part-time and fulltime students the same amount for a particular academic semester, adding that “how can a student who is carrying three credit hours and another students who is also carrying 20 credit hours pay the same amount.

According to the students, fees charged should be determined by credit hours and not across the board, adding that the decision for students to pay fees across the board is exploitation and is denying others from enrolling.

Following their release, the head of the UL Trustee Board, Madam Theresa Leigh-Sherman met with the disgruntled students under the palaver hut on the university campus and promised to address the concerns of the students.

Madam Sherman told the students that the Trustee Board was not aware of the prevailing situation at the university. She appealed to the students to remain calm as the Trustee is working in the interest of both the students and university administration to find amicably solutions to problems confronting the university.

The university of Liberia has been closed since last May 2003, few days before LURD rebels launched their attacks on Monrovia, which claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people.

The power sharing transitional government of Liberia headed by businessman Charles Gyude Bryant has made available US$400,000 to the school administration to re-open the university, while the Management of LPRC has also given US$100,000 to the university aimed at addressing some of the problems ranging from the payment of salary arrears.

Recently, the university administration announced the re-opening of the school after 12 months of prolong closure. Presently, pre-registrations for the first semester (2004/2005) academic school year is taking place while classes are expected to resume in June 2004.