HARPER, Maryland â€“ Days after a Bush Chicken report noted that Tubman University was experiencing issues recruiting professors because of a lack of funds provided by the central government, the university has gone on the offensive to issue a press release alleging that the story was â€œfalse and misleading.â€
The Bush Chicken had reported that the universityâ€™s president, Elliot Wreh-Wilson, disclosed to students that since he took over the university, the central government had only made available US$5,250 to be used to operate the university. Additionally, The Bush Chicken reported that two professors â€“ Richard A. Adu and Adebayo Fashina â€“ had resigned from the university and that several other professors at the university had also been absent from classes this semester.
Tubman Universityâ€™s press release, which was dated on March 25, took issue with the headline of the story, â€˜Professors Leave TU in Droves as University President Says No Money to Pay.â€™ The school said, â€œthe heading of the story does not reflect what is happening at TU.â€
â€œTwo professors mentioned in the story are foreign faculty. One is pursuing his doctorate and plans to return while the other left on family matters. In fact, the two professors have been replaced and a total of 11 new faculty members have been hired this semester.â€
The university added that it was also working to attract more Liberians to the faculty through its â€˜Grow Our Ownâ€™ scholarship program.
â€œThrough this program, the university has trained over 12 Liberian faculty. Currently, we have 3 Liberians studying at the masterâ€™s degree level at universities in South Africa and Uganda respectively,â€ the press release noted.
The university has not provided an answer as to why its president, Wreh-Wilson, did not mention the additional nine professors hired during his earlier statement to the student body. Additionally, the university also did not provide the specific dates the additional nine professors hired came in, only that they were hired â€œthis semester.â€ It is a possibility that the professors could have been hired in order to contain politically sensitive news.
In addition to the press release issued, the university also held a press conference on Monday where the assistant vice president for academic affairs, T. Dan Jan-Bestman, said the salary space created by the two professors who resigned was used to hire the 11 professors.
He also refuted inaccurate rumors being spread by Unity Partyâ€™s Mo Ali and other opposition figures claiming that the university was closed due to financial struggles in hiring new officials.
â€œWe are open, we remain and we will never stop running the university,â€ he said.
He condemned the information being spread on social media about the university being closed and warned those seeking political offices in the next election to stop involving the institution in their politics.
Besides the two named professors who had officially resigned, The Bush Chicken has recorded at least ten professors who have been absent this semester, without tendering an official letter of resignation: Mae Gonzalez, Allen Gonzalez, Mario Marbajosa, Alice A. Perez, Myth Carbajosa, Michael Osondipe, James Gballah, Benito Carbajosa, Leviticus Wamah, and Abraham Kiazolu.
The university further noted in its press release that the central government had allocated an amount that exceeds the US$5,250 that The Bush Chicken quoted Wreh-Wilson as providing in his statement to students. However, the university did not provide the precise amount provided by the government in its press release. Neither did it say when that additional amount was provided.
In response to the attention the university has been receiving about its financial struggles, the president of Tubman Universityâ€™s student government, John E. Tarr, acknowledged that the university was facing challenges.
However, he said claims made by Martin Kollie of the University of Liberia-based Student Unification Party and Mo Ali on social media that the university is closed is false and misleading.
â€œWhile it true that we have challenges on the campuses of the Tubman University, the information provided is not true,â€ Tarr added. He said he had appeared on ELBC Radio, LNTV, and the Heritage newspaper indicating some of the challenges faced at the university.
Tarr said he had made it clear that the university might close if those funding issues were not resolved.
Tarr said since he took over as head of the student government assembly, he had received a letter from the College of Arts and Sciences drawing attention to the lack of professors in the college.
Another student, Sabastine G. Lehmie, a senior student of the College of Agriculture, noted that the financial challenges of the university were nothing new, as President Wreh-Wilson frequently appeared before the student body where he mentioned the lack of funds to properly operate the university.
Featured photo by Franklin Nehyalor