A Statement Issued By Student Unification Party, University of Liberia
Comrades and friends of revolutionary and political prowess, sons and daughters of underprivileged and marginalized citizens of our country, militants, cadres and intellectual paragons, we bring you warm revolutionary greetings from the oasis of intellectual and political consciousness of Africa’s oldest mass-based political movement, the Vanguard Student Unification Party.
In acquiescence with our historical and traditional mandate to protect the overwhelming interest of thousands of students across Liberia and the public in general, we are disappointingly dismayed to have ascertained that the Administration of the University of Liberia has embarked on a disingenuous and unproductive journey to unjustifiably increase tuition and fees at the detriment of struggling students. The Vanguard Student Unification Party (SUP) categorically rebukes, rejects, and resists any increment and would inexorably battle such devilish attempt, which has the inclination to depopulate the University. Let it be known that the University of Liberia which was solely established through an Act of Legislation to train men and women, is predominantly a public funded institution, especially to protect the weak.
The pitiless intent by UL Administration to increase tuition from L$175.00 per credit to US$ 5.00 per credit and transportation fare from L$30.00 to L$100.00 does not only amount to wickedness, but it is also a canny and crafty scheme to discourage and dampen the academic progress of over 36,000 students currently attending the University of Liberia. The Vanguard Student Unification Party completely frowns on the insensitivity of this government to transform the nation’s highest institution of tertiary education.
The deliberate and indiscreet action of national government to shockingly neglect its statutory responsibility by appropriating US$15 million to UL this fiscal year, even though a minimum of US$29 million was requested, projects the unwillingness of this regime to standardize academic programs and ensure quality education at the University of Liberia. Let it be categorically known that the real motive of Madam Sirleaf and her cronies is to intentionally strangulate the advancement and enlightenment of thousands of Liberian students at the University of Liberia.
As a means of justifying her unusual proclamation that ‘education is a mess’, her administration continues to underfund the University amidst harsh economic realities. This ill-omened and hapless tactic to portray a weak and dark cloud over the educational system in Liberia is a clever technique of paving a better future for their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins, friends, and confidants who are currently acquiring quality education in the USA and other parts of the Diaspora to return and economically enslave our people.
On May 11, 2015, the Vanguard Student Unification Party officially wrote a communiqué to the National Legislature justifiably requesting members of this body to increase the budgetary allotment of the University of Liberia from US$15 million to at least US$20 million. Disappointingly, unpatriotic legislators overtly ignored this genuine proposal and went ahead to increase their own salaries, incentives, and benefits. Judging from existing realities, the National Legislature has become a self-seeking political theater of crooks and cronies only interested in amassing wealth at the detriment of ordinary citizens. How can quality education emerge in Liberia when Lawmakers are viciously using over US$40,000 just to purchase a vehicle, while students at UL struggle to obtain scholarships every semester? This bald-faced and blatant thoughtlessness is unbecoming and unacceptable! It is a complete mockery for 36,000 students at UL to be given just US$15 million as budgetary appropriation while 800 students at Tubman University are receiving US$6 million.
SUP believes that a prosperous and great nation is only possible when adequate resources are made available to promote quality education. What is big about providing US$29 million to enhance quality tertiary education for over 36,000 Liberian students when our current national budget totals US$622,743,420 as opposed to just US$80,000,000 in 2005? The Administration of UL needs to be bold with national government that US$15 million is very insufficient to run the University. The Student Unification Party (SUP) is justifiably opposing increment in tuition and fees at UL for the following reasons:
The highest form of injustice is for 36,000 students and almost 2000 staffers at UL to receive US$15,000,000 per annum while a single Pro Tempore’s office receives US$1,483,784 and a single Speaker’s office receives US$974,654 per annum. Why must the Ministry of Finance that comprises of about 1,000 employees receive US$82 million and the State-run University lies in ruin due to budgetary constraints? Are we really serious about promoting quality education? How can our nation produce great doctors, engineers, scientists, agriculturists, financial experts, economists, entrepreneurs, business tycoons, lawyers, public health specialists, and other professionals when the foremost refinery of higher education in Liberia is retrogressing each day due to budgetary challenges? SUP understands that President Sirleaf now uses a bulletproof hummer jeep while thousands of students are struggling every day to acquire quality education.
As a means of addressing visible and surmounting challenges at UL, SUP hereby recommends a National Consultative Dialogue and Stakeholder Conference on Tertiary Education in order to brainstorm and engender a genuine and lasting framework or resolution to ensure quality education at the University of Liberia and other private institutions. SUP assures all students that a penny will not be added on the L$175.00 per credit. We are ever ready to stand tall against this sinister agenda. However, if the University of Liberia ever shuts down as a result of our resistance to this glaring injustice and the inability of this government to reasonably fund academic programs, it means the Legislature and probably the Foreign and Finance Ministries will shut down as well. This will be the beginning of a new revolution. The 36,000 students can no longer be deprived of their rights! Their determination to redefine their destiny and reshape a nation of equality and justice for ALL must not be taken for granted. The wind of change is gradually blowing and the Student Unification Party is leading this process of inclusive change!
It is often said in Swahili “ushindi juu ya watesi wetu ni baadhi ya” meaning “victory over our oppressors is certain”. In the cause of social justice and academic freedom, the struggle remains unabated. Long live SUP, long live all SUPISTS, long live the masses agenda, long live massescracy, long live the Liberian people. SUP will never die…
Done and issued on this 28th Day of August A.D. 2015 by the mandate of the Central Committee and Politburo concomitantly.
Cde. Martin K. N. Kollie
Chairman on Information, Propaganda, Research and Guidance, SUP
Cde. Nathan N. Kpao, Chairman, SUP