"We Will Lay Down Our Chalks, If...", - UL Professors


Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 31, 2004

Credible information emanating from the University of Liberia (UL), say that professors at the nation’s highest institution of learning have threatened to lay down their chalks should Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh take over as president of the institution.
Our source who attended the faculty meeting with Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant recently, said they were surprised that the Chairman could walk out of the meeting that reportedly lasted for about ten minutes. He said given the attitude exhibited by the NTGL Chairman, “we are prepared to lay down our chalks should Dr. Conteh assume office as president of UL.”

On the question of either accepting Dr. Conteh or resigning, our source hinted, “Bryant is missing the might- he has no authority to dismiss any of the instructors or professors, needless to talk about forcing the resignation of any professor.”
However, some members of the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) say they are awaiting the decision of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) Plenary Committee set up by Speaker George Dweh to probe into the UL crisis.

Speaking to our reporter recently, a member of ULFA, Moses Barclay said, since the issue is being handled by the Plenary, “ULFA will say nothing until the decision is reached by the NTLA.”

ULFA members, in a meeting recently with Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, were told to work with Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh. Since the meeting, the instructors continue to attend classes.

But one ULFA’s official who preferred anonymity, said Speaker Dweh reportedly informed the instructors that he (Dweh) had been misinformed by his NTLA colleagues (Dr. Charles Clarke and Dr. Fredrick S. Gbegbe), that ULFA was informed and fully aware of the appointment of Dr. Conteh as President of UL.

The ULFA official said, “it was prudent at this time in the interest of all, to publish the audit report prepared by P.K. Foster Accounting Firm and UNFPA.” He said the report is the audit report that was carried out by P. K. Foster into the alleged misappropriation by Dr. Conteh, while serving as Director at the Demographic Unit of the University of Liberia.
He further noted that the appointment of Dr. Conteh by Chairman Bryant was an attempt by the Visitor to the University to allegedly put in top positions members of his Liberia Action Party (LAP) and at the same time encourage people he described as those “who have crooked the system.”

The faculty member also disclosed that while in the meeting with Chairman Bryant, he informed them that he (Bryant) was reluctant to do anything regarding the US$250,000 that was allegedly misappropriated by the Ben Roberts administration on grounds that he (Dr. Robert) told Chairman Bryant that the money given to him was used to pay debts owed by the university.

Some students spoken to by our reporter said they only want to continue their education and called on Chairman Bryant to work in the interest of the university to allow them continue with their studies in peace.

Another group of students who commented on the issue of Dr. Conteh’s alleged misappropriation, called on the Chairman to suspend his decision in appointing Dr. Conteh until the issue surrounding him is clear. They said as a Chairman of NTGL, he is considered the father of the nation and people; as such, he must listen and be able to dialogue and even convince the people he governs in a proper manner, especially when they are dissatisfied with certain issues.

They classified these things as “traits” of a good leader and called on him to exhibit these traits. The students also called on Chairman Bryant to do away with Taylor’s style of administration, which normally portrayed the signs of dictatorship, adding, “Liberians are tired of vices that have destroyed this country.” They cited the issue of Dr. Ben Roberts alleged misappropriation and the refusal by the NTGL Chairman to publish the findings of the investigation into the alleged financial malpractices by Dr. Roberts.

Meanwhile, the NTLA committee set up to investigate the appointment issue held its deliberation recently. The committee is expected to come out with its decision shortly.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by the Forum newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.