Editorial: UL Student Crisis: A Decision With Caution
The campus of a university such as the University of Liberia is not only the bedrock of intellectualism, but breeding ground for the country’s future leaders. This age-old legacy was almost broken when some undesirable students with memberships of the campus-based Student Unification Party or SUP and a Coalition of the Student Integration Movement or SIM and Student Democratic Alliance or STUDA chose path of violence over intellectualism.
For more than a week, supporters of these campus-based political parties, for the first time in the history of student politics at the university, engaged each other in violent running battles on the Fendell and main campuses of the University of Liberia without the intervention of the UL authorities.
Their disorderliness, especially on last Wednesday and Thursday, on the main campus of the university resulted to brutal attacks, stone-throwing and looting, bringing back the memories of the dark days (rebel wars) of Liberia. Indeed, there was no other description that any well-meaning Liberian could have giving the attitudes of the UL students other than the one befitting typical “Liberian rebels”.
While the Government of Liberia and UL Administration were doing everything possibly well to keep the university running uninterrupted (to which we all must show the highest gratitude), there were still some students who did not appreciate their presence at the UL as a privilege. It was even unfortunate that the UL Administration, with all of the teeth to bite despite its liberalness on student politics, would allow the entire situation to get out of hand for more than a week before intervening.
However, be that as it may, it was never too late for its last Friday’s decision to suspend classes and ask students and visitors to stay away from the University’s Fendell and main campuses until otherwise ordered. It is an open fact that by now, graduates of the university and those who once participated in UL campus politics with SUP, SIM and STUDA may be disappointed and embarrassed by the violent and rebellious nature of those on whom they depend to intellectually continue to stimulate the beauty of student politics at the University of Liberia.
Even though all of us may be disappointed and angered by the rebel-styled attitudes of the students this brought normal academic activities to a halt on the main campus and Fendell, the UL Administration must also exercise the highest degree of caution in expelling those targeted. Any decision to do this must be the result of an investigation with all of the facts and evidence, and that those bearing the greatest responsibilities must face such action by the UL Administration as a deterrent to future occurrences.
The UL Administration must not also be carried away by LINSU’s condemnation of its decisions, but remains focus in expeditiously dealing with the situation to a logical conclusion. LINSU’s hasty decision to condemn the UL Authorities, without first verifying and acknowledging the fact those supporters of the SUP and the SIM-STUDA Coalition turned themselves in ‘rebels’ at the UL, only exposes its immaturity and inability to respond to or intervene in crisis involving its members.