The Administration of the University of Liberia (UL) has lifted the suspension imposed on student political activities, with immediate effect. The lifting of the suspension followed the approval and publication of a revised UL Student Handbook to govern and guide student behavior at the Nation’s highest institution of learning.
The revised Handbook, which was reviewed and approved by the UL Board of Trustees on 1 February 2019, has been placed on the university’s website at http://ul.edu.lr/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UL-Student-Handbook.pdf for easy download. Moreover, the UL Administration, within the next two weeks, will provide hard copies of the Handbook and place same in various libraries on the UL campuses to ensure easy access.
The revised Handbook, like the old one, covers a range of areas affecting student life, academic programs, admissions requirements, academic rules and regulations, rules and regulations to govern the behavior of students attending the University of Liberia, among others.
That said, the revised Handbook is a rich compendium of information and history on the University of Liberia rather than simply a book that specifies rules of behavior. For example, it describes the history behind the formation of each college at the University, starting with Liberia College, the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Liberia College, which was founded in 1862 with the assistance of the Trustees of Donation for Education in Liberia (TDEL), preceded the University of Liberia.
Additionally, the revised Handbook differs from the old one in so many ways and takes into consideration some of the recent developments at the University. For example, there is a section which explains the digital registration process currently being used at the institution and guides students in following the steps involved in the usage of the online platform.
Another addition found in the revised Handbook that distinguishes it from the old version concerns Interim Suspension. The revised Handbook gives the Dean of Student Affairs the discretion to impose disciplinary suspension.
Interim suspension, according to the revised Handbook, shall be enacted when the Dean of Students or his/her designee determines that there is a reasonable basis to determine that the continued presence of the student at the University presents a threat to others at the University, to the student and/or to University property.
More importantly, students are required to sign a behavioral bond, agreeing “to abide by, observe and obey all laws of the Republic of Liberia and all Rules and Regulations of the University of Liberia.”
Any student who fails to sign this bond, according to the revised Handbook, shall be denied admission to the University of Liberia. The behavioral form is attached to the revised Handbook as an appendix and is uploaded electronically to the University’s website at http://ul.edu.lr/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/BOND-OF-GOOD-BEHAVIOR.pdf.
At the same time, it is important to mention that during the course of the suspension, UL President Dr. Ophelia Inez Weeks held several discussions with key university and national stakeholders, including a marathon session with student leaders, and encouraged students to adopt a civil approach in engaging Administration, other students or groups and national stakeholders, among others.
Additionally, Dr. Weeks also briefed the UL Board of Trustees, explaining in detail what led to the 11 January 2019 violent disturbance and proposed a number of measures the UL Administration is now considering, to address repeated acts of violence and disruptions on UL campuses.
Lastly, the UL President also met with members of the Senate Committee on Education and Public Administration, and discussed programs and mechanisms underway to address violent disturbances on the campuses of the University of Liberia.
The recent suspension of student political activities is the second taken by the University Administration within the last five months. It can be recalled that the UL Administration placed a definite suspension on student politics for a period of one month, from August 15 to September 15, in 2018.