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Friday, July 19, 2024

ULFASA MAINTAINS STRIKE ACTION AMID DISPUTES WITH UNIVERSITY OF LIBERIA LEADERSHIP

Date:

MONROVIA, LIBERIA – The University of Liberia Faculty and Staff Association (ULFASA) issued a press release informing its members that no decision has been made to return to activities on Monday, June 24, 2024. The release, dated June 23 and signed by the ULFASA Secretariat, reminded members that the decision to resume administrative and academic activities rests solely with the Combined General Assembly.

ULFASA highlighted a productive meeting with the Visitor of the University, President Joseph Nyumah Boakai on Friday, June 21, 2024. During the meeting, President Boakai promised to restore dignity to the university and initiate immediate actions to ensure normalcy returns to the institution. However, ULFASA urged everyone to await further instructions from their leadership before resuming any activities. The association is awaiting necessary pronouncements from the Board of Trustees (BoT) to begin addressing their demands.

ULFASA emphasized that all members should stay away from all campuses and keep offices closed until further notice. The association stressed that there would be no access to any administrative or academic buildings. Directors and deans were warned not to compel any staff or faculty to go against this unanimous decision, with the Executive Committee of ULFASA prepared to take additional measures to ensure member safety from any retaliatory actions.

Recently, ULFASA condemned a directive from the BoT, dated June 19, 2024, mandating all faculty and staff to immediately resume work or face administrative action. In a press release issued on June 23, the leadership criticized the BoT for perpetuating a legacy of mismanagement and broken promises by the university administration. ULFASA’s leadership emphasized that the BoT’s directive followed a prolonged period of mismanagement by the University of Liberia (UL) administration, which has consistently failed to improve staff and faculty welfare. The press release described the BoT’s stance as an attempt to maintain the status quo, allowing the administration more time to worsen the situation and punish those who oppose them.

ULFASA expressed profound disappointment that the BoT, an entity traditionally held in high regard, would issue threats to professionals, treating them as mere servants. This, ULFASA noted, mirrors previous actions by the UL administration. Reaffirming their stance, ULFASA advised all faculty and staff to continue abstaining from administrative and academic activities until their demands are addressed. This decision was reinforced by the General Assembly, which remains active and resolute in its directive.

The leadership also stated that the Presidents of the University of Liberia Faculty Association (ULFA) and the University of Liberia Staff Association (ULSA) would not participate in any activities of the proposed “search committee” for new university leadership. ULFASA assured its members that they would stand united and take all necessary measures to protect them from any retaliatory actions.

This strike action, which began on June 14, 2024, was unanimously decided at a General Assembly meeting held at the University of Liberia’s main campus in Monrovia. It is a response to ongoing grievances, including delayed salary payments for part-time lecturers, poor working and learning conditions, and the administration’s failure to meet previously agreed-upon demands. ULFASA has also called for the resignation of UL President Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson and his administration, holding them accountable for the unresolved issues.

“The current situation is untenable,” stated a ULFASA representative during the assembly. “Our part-time lecturers have not received their salaries on time, the working and learning conditions are poor, and the administration has continuously failed to honor our agreements. We can no longer stand by while these issues persist.”

ULFASA issued a stern warning to all lecturers to stay away from the university premises and threatened action against any departments that defy this directive. This strike, coinciding with the students’ final exam period, could significantly impact their academic progress. The faculty and staff’s frustration has reached a boiling point, leading to this drastic measure. ULFASA’s demands for better conditions and timely salary payments have been ongoing, but little progress has been made.

“The administration’s neglect of our demands is unacceptable,” said another ULFASA member. “We are committed to providing quality education, but we cannot do so under these conditions. It is time for Dr. Nelson and his administration to step down and make way for leadership that will prioritize the needs of both staff and students.”

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