MONROVIA, Montserrado – The University of Liberia has announced an extension in the registration period by one month, days after students staged violent protests demanding the administration to reopen the process.
The university made the disclosure following an emergency board meeting with top government officials, including Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, Education Minister-designate Ansu Sonii, and Nathaniel McGill, minister of state for presidential affairs.
President George Weah requested that his officials discuss with university authorities the challenges affecting students’ registration and repeated demonstrations and disruption of classes.
Following the meeting, Tweah and his colleagues promised that the government would provide support to automate and digitize the registration process at the state-run university to ease tension and reduce students’ demonstrations.
Weah also approved additional expenditure intended to enhance banking operations on the university’s campuses. The disbursement will facilitate the late registration of students who missed earlier deadlines.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader further requested for the semester to be extended by one month to accommodate the students who will register late due to the loss in time because of disruptions caused by protests.
At the same time, Weah urged students to remain calm as his administration would ensure that their concerns are addressed.
Students of the university recently staged a violent protest disrupting normal activities and setting roadblocks on both the Capitol Hill and Fendell campuses.
The students also set ablaze tires at the intersection in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which hosts the office of the president of Liberia. It was one of numerous protests by the students this semester. It followed the expiration of the second supplementary deadline that was announced following a consultation between the university president, Ophelia Weeks, and cabinet members.
Registration activities at the university, which began on September 11 last year, was announced closed in October. It was, however, reopened at the request of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for students who had paid their fees, but had not completed the process for registration.
The students staged their earliest protest after the first supplementary deadline. Those students held the university’s president, Ophelia Weeks, hostage in the Capitol Hill campus auditorium for hours.
Following another negotiation among student leaders, the former deputy police inspector general for operations, Abraham Kromah, and authorities of the university, another agreement was reached to consider students who had paid their fees by November 15 of last year.
The recent protest also left the official vehicle of the Speaker of the 54th Legislature Bhofal Chambers damaged. The police arrested several students on accusation of their participation in the violence.
Meanwhile, the vice president for university relations, Norris Tweah, has welcomed the government’s commitment to improve the student registration system.
“This move by the government is commendable and will help to extensively solve some of the complex problems experienced at the university,” he said in an interview on ELBC Radio.
Tweah also disclosed in a release that the extended registration period would run from February 7 to March 10, 2018.
He called on students to observe all registration procedure, obtaining deposit slips after presenting photocopies of billing control sheets at the Business and Finance Office at Fendell and Capitol Hill.
The student representative to the university’s council, Orando Fallah, told The Bush Chicken that the student union welcomes the intervention by Weah and his government. Fallah also praised the university’s administration for finally extending the registration to allow students who were left out to register for the semester.
“The period provided for the extension is enough to allow every student affected by the early closure of registration finally register,” he said.
Featured photo by Jefferson Krua