Challenges Remain at Cuttington Amid President’s Suspension

SUAKOKO, Bong – The president of the Cuttington University Faculty Association, Lepolu Torlon, says there has been no improvement in conditions at the university despite the suspension of the president, Herman Browne.

Browne was suspended in May indefinitely by the Board of Trustees of the university following protests by students of the university.

Limited electricity supply for students and faculty members, unfavorable living conditions, as well as delays in salary payment to lecturers and other staff were among the issues that resulted in sporadic student protests on the main campus of the university in May this year.

The protests claimed the attention of the Board of Trustees of Cuttington and the government of Liberia. In an effort to resolve the stalemate, the board suspended Browne and appointed James Tamba as interim president, pending an investigation on Browne.

Torlon said at the moment, the institution still owes salaries to lecturers for May and electricity has not been fully restored on the Suakoko campus. It still remains limited to the six hours daily introduced by Browne.

“We are done with our final exams and teachers are trying to complete their grades for submission. In terms of that, calmness has returned, but in terms of salaries, that remains a major challenge for now,” Torlon told The Bush Chicken.

The president of the Cuttington University Faculty Association, Lepolu Torlon. Photo: Moses Bailey

Browne is suspended indefinitely, but the impact of the “financial crisis” he left at Cuttington continues to impede the smooth operations of the school.

Torlon is calling on Cuttington’s board to speedily investigate the allegations against Browne and take the decision to appoint a permanent president who will work with everyone to address the challenges facing the institution.

Even though he is graduating at the end of this month, Clint Layweh, the president of Cuttington University Student Union, said he is concerned about the learning conditions of the students who will be enrolled in the coming semester amid the current challenges facing the institution.

“The general feeling here is that the students are worried about their future and the future of Cuttington,” Layweh told The Bush Chicken in an interview.

He said students do not want Browne as president of the university because he “lacks the ability to lead and include everyone in decision-making.”

“Students fear that Dr. Browne will resurface and when that happens, things will go bad,” Layweh said.

He also wants Cuttington’s Board of Trustees to fast-track Browne’s investigation and make its final determinations to allay the fear of the students.

Prior to his suspension, Browne told students and faculty members that the financial crisis at the university was the result of the refusal of scholarship donors to pay arrears they owed the university, in addition to low budgetary support from government.

“The reason is that our subsidy has not been forthcoming from the government. The reason why we don’t have more hours of electricity is because we simply cannot afford it,” Browne said.

Featured photo by Jefferson Krua

Moses Bailey

Moses started his journalism career in 2010 as a reporter at Radio Gbarnga. In 2011, the Press Union of Liberia recognized him as the Human Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2017, he was the Development Reporter of the Year. He is also an Internews Health Journalism Fellow. Moses is also the regional coordinator for NAYMOTE-Liberia, an organization working with youth to promote democratic governance.

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