Nowadays social interaction is a cornerstone of the modern university experience, while academic professionals stress the importance of addressing and promoting the welfare of students with physical disabilities within all education settings. It is also believed that students with disabilities encounter a variety of different people while they are in school, and while a courteous, respectful manner is encouraged towards them.
It was in this vein that members of the University of Liberia Students Disabled Association (ULSDA) paid a courtesy call on the Dean of Liberia College (College of Social Sciences and Humanities) of the University of Liberia, Prof. Dr. Josephus M. Gray, on Wednesday, November 12, 2021 to acquaint him with challenges they are facing.
The Students with Disabilities, during their courtesy call on the Dean at his Office on the Fendell Campus, highlighted their plights and challenges they face in the obtainment of quality education at the university. They appealed to Dr. Gray to share their plights with the authorities of the institution, especially the President of UL, Prof. Dr. Julius S. Nelson who described as a “father and student-centered leader,” one who cherished his students so much.
I’m so proud of our brilliant and courageous students with physical disabilities at the University of Liberia praised them for their determination and strengths to defy all odds to pursue higher education by compete with their colleagues who are complete physical state of life at the state university. I am deeply pleased and honored to receive our future leaders at our offices in Fendell on Thursday to discussion a wide range of issues about their plights.
The president of ULADS, Mr. Parkins Boye on behalf of his colleagues recounted their plights which was so touching to the extent that it affected the dean and his office staff members emotionally. Student Boye used the visit to thank Dr. Gray for the meeting and requested him to kindly convey their concerns to the school authorities.
The physically challenged students praised Dr. Nelson’s administration for the introduction of eLearning platform at the university, which they noted provides every student the opportunity and flexibility in terms of access to all virtual classes and programs, and most importantly which they said is very helpful to them in several aspects of their studies, particularly in helping to reduce the difficulty that they usually encounter to move from one campus to another especially when they have to compete with their colleagues who are in a physical state to get on buses to be in class and access services.
During the meeting, Dr. Gray welcomed the students and lauded them for the praiseworthy visit, which he described as friendly and informative. He expressed the willingness of the school administration to address the students’ plights particularly in the areas of accessibility to classrooms, transportation, bathroom, office space, accommodation, services and participation in student events, and extra curricula activities.
On behalf of administration, Dr. Gray praised the students with disabilities for their determination to take advantage of the eLearning program at the state-run university. He assured them that the school’s administration is doing everything possible to improve services on the various campuses.
The Liberia College Dean further assured the students that eLearning provides equal advantage to all students in terms of accessibility to learning irrespective of their physical conditions, and noted that eLearning will always be used every academic semester. He told the students that the administration will do all it can to alleviate the challenges put impediments the way of their pursuits for tertiary education.
Dr. Gray described members of the Association of Disabled Students as “Ambassadors” of the institution, and encourages them to remain focused and determined in their quest for quality education. He admonished them to defy their physical condition to compete with their colleagues who are in a more physical state, and reminded them prevailing situation will always not favor one desire.
Dr. Gray reiterated his firm hopes for the sustained upward trajectory of the UL administration and the various student groups and associations, and reminded the physically challenged students that the administration is fully aware that specific accommodations are needed in order to learn and participate in classes and other extra curricula activities.
He noted that despite certain logistical challenges, students with disabilities are firmly determined in the obtainment of higher education. He gives members of the association unlimited access to the Dean’s office and reminded them that the office assigned to the dean
is a public office. Members of the association are majoring in several disciplines including English, Sociology, Communication and Media Studies and Agriculture, among others.
Signed: Prof. Dr. Josephus M. Gray