On the occasion marking Liberia's 153rd independence anniversary, the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU), not happy with the performance of the Taylor government's first three years in office, issued a statement highlighting several issues of concern. Below is the full text of the statement that was e-mailed to The Perspective:

The 153rd Anniversary of Liberia's independence comes amidst growing anxieties, doubts and speculations about the trend of events in the Nation since August 1997. From all indications the true meaning of independence is still strikingly bizarre to the ordinary Liberian, whose life style has remained untouched despite our unchecquered period of existence as a nation.

Against these backgrounds, the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) is commending Liberians for the extremely high level of tolerance displayed between 1997-2000 in spite of the dismal state of the Liberian economy. The resilience of Liberians against the backdrop of growing economic mismanagement and the recalcitrantly extravagant life styles of a minute segment of society cannot be overemphasized. The spiraling pomposity of those who continue to live, conceitedly, within the arrogance and falsehood of supremacy and indispensability over their compatriots primarily because of their ready access to the nation's wealth must be discouraged.

On reports of fighting in Lofa County allegedly between Government and Liberian dissidents, the Union is urging all those responsible to desist and allow the democratic process to prevail. Continuous wars and the orchestration of dubious scenarios will only open up old wounds and heighten tensions among an already pauperized population. The Union strongly believes that the mature handling of potentially explosive situations is required in order not to plunge Liberia back into another round of bloodbath. However, the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) refuses to join the bandwagon of those who are blindly avoiding the truth. The Union believes that the problems in Liberia today are due to Government's failure to formulate distinctively pragmatic, domestic and foreign policies that will be patterned after the principles of Nationalism. Sadly enough, both our domestic and foreign policies have been ambiguous, and at present it is imperceptible which posture Liberia has adopted as a vital member of the global community.

As can be seen, our domestic policies appear to be focused at creating only two major classes: the affluent and the impoverished. Any such policies that deprave the vast majority of employment and other opportunities are a recipe for division. Consequently, the Union is urging government to ensure the creation of new jobs for hundreds of youth who cannot find employment in their own society.

About the attitude towards education, the University of Liberia Student Union (ULSU) is appalled by the growing wave of increment in fees at higher institutions of learning. As we cannot survive without education, the Union challenges Government to ensure that illiteracy and ignorance are stamped out, thus the attempts to increase fees at public institutions must be discouraged. At the same time Liberia's relations with the rest of the world have been strained by persistent accusations by the United Nations that our country is directly involved in the Sierra Leonean conflict. Threats of comprehensive sanctions have already been issued by the United States as a result of these unwholesome developments.

But the Union is strongly of the view that Liberia is too small and weak to assume the status of a pariah state: the growing economic constraints render us totally incapable of withstanding outright international isolation. Amidst threats of sanctions, the Union is urging Government to explore every available avenue in order to avert the current situation from degenerating any further.

In this connection it is all the more important that only seasoned diplomats, and not the arrogantly flamboyant and self-seeking public officials who lack the expertise to comment on major foreign policy matters, be allowed to function against the backdrop of growing international pressure. Government should not overlook the threats of sanctions by pretending that all is calm. Rather, we all should realize that peace in our country is inextricably bound to peace and stability in the Mano River Union zone. On the other hand, the union is appealing to the United States and the United Nations to adopt a more practical and tangible approach other than sanctions, which will only affect the ordinary citizens of Liberia.

Finally, the Union is commending the Liberian Government for renovating the Boys Dormitory at the University of Liberia and the Bassa Teenage Junior high school. Students of the University are particularly grateful for such laudable effort and are appealing that the annex of the Boy's Dormitory be covered by Libya's gesture. Also, while students of the University are grateful about the ongoing renovation work at Fendall, the Union wishes to urge Government that students of the University who have been overstretched by the imposition of two vacation schools, cannot afford to go beyond the promised September schedule, and will do everything to resist any attempt by the University authority to defer the University's Calendar for a fourth time. The Union is also calling on the Government of Liberia to address the general welfare of professors, and provide other relevant incentives.


SignedJ. Karku Sampson

J.Alphonso Socrates Nimene

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