The main campus of the state owned University of Liberia (UL) was a scene of violent and bloody clash involving students and riot officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
Eyewitnesses informed this media that it all started when students, mainly from the Student Unification Party (SUP), on Monday, August 2, 2021 assembled and began protesting against the e-learning system introduced by the UL administration headed by Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson.
According to the eyewitnesses, as the protest intensified, riot police’s presence around the UL main campuses seemed to have irritated the students, thus resulting to stone throwing at the law officers. It is also said that when the police responded with tear gas, hell broke loose.
The Whistleblower was further informed that the intensity of the clashes gave room for the unleashing of additional police officers on the scene.
For his part, exiled former SUP standard bearer Martin K.N. Kollie claimed that heavily armed police officers were shooting live bullets at unarmed students on the UL main campus.
Kollie posted on social media Facebook backed by photos that, “conscious university students have been protesting against an ill-fated and rash E-learning system.”
Kollie expressed condemnation about what he referred to as a brutal invasion of UL and called for a full-scale investigation.
“Dr. Sarwolo Julukon Nelson Jr. needs to trek with caution. The students have every right to protest against any imposive and repressive system. Article 17 guarantees this right. Liberia is not only a Banana Republic under ex-Soccer Star turned President GMW, but it is also a Police State. The regime is provoking national upheaval. The reign of terror is back and the PEOPLE will rise up against it.”
Efforts were applied to contact police spokesman H. Moses Carter to confirm or deny claims of the firing of live bullets for which some students were bloodily injured, but they did not materialize as his phone rang endlessly.
SUP recently rejected the decision by the UL administration to operate the e-learning process as part of the COVID-19 measures.
The student-based political party called on the UL to allow both e-learning and face-to-face learning to take place so as to allow students that do not have access to computers and the internet to remain in school.
On June 30, the university announced on its Facebook page that it would go online for the 2nd Semester due to the COVID-19 resurgence.
The administration announced that following a Joint Faculty Senate and Administrative Council (JFSAC) meeting held online via Zoom on Friday, June 25, 2021, it decided that all classes will be conducted fully online in adherence to the latest health protocols in the wake of the resurgence of Covid-19 in Liberia.
SUP Chairman Momo Peters stated that the third wave of the contagious Covid-19 is taking away many lives in Liberia in a short period of time.
Yet, he advised the UL administration to give students the opportunity to do their study either online or face-to-face learning on grounds that many students do not have the ability to afford the e-learning process.
He argued that many schools around the world have given their students options wherein they are to decide on the face-to-face classes or the e-learning, which best suits them for subscription.
According to him, in Liberia, a democratic state like others, this seems the reverse and comical to the core.
For him, the University of Liberia which happens to be the state premier and most genuine area for education where the mass of the people send their children to acquire tertiary education is in reverse mode under Dr. Nelson.
According to the SUP Chairman, technology is one of the most powerful instruments that is driving the world to fast growth and development.
The SUP Chairman pointed out that it can only be applicable and well operated in environments that have the sophistication not compared to Liberia.
As far as he is concerned, the UL does not have the sophistication required to contain an e-Learning platform on a 100 percent basis for over 16,000 students said.
SUP then called on the UL to make e-Learning 60% while the face-to-face classes should be 40%.
SUP vowed not to hesitate to march into history if its demands against the imposition of 100% e-Learning on the university students this semester are not met.