Monrovia, Liberia- The United Methodist University on Wednesday, expelled five students from the school for their participation in the nude video sharing saga.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the University’s administration said, they took the decision in what they term, “violation of count 18 in the student’s handbook of the university”; a decision that raised controversy among students and non-students of the institution.
Count 18 of the United Methodist University Students Handbook states: “No Student, whether male or female, shall sexually harass another student. This include, unwanted gesture; touching or verbal. Students are also advised not to expose sexual areas to fellow students.”
Dr. Albert Coleman, acting President of the University told the news conference that the action by the five students have brought serious embarrassment to the institution. He said, the University’s administration is “deeply troubled and shocked” by the unwanted attitudes portrayed by the five expelled students, and that the University, being a Christian institution and owned by the United Methodist Church is very embarrassed by the event.
“The UMU administration maintains that it cannot and will never be associated with a conduct of individuals within its ranks that are intended to rob the name of the university in the mud, after committing so much energy to and time to build a reputation that has given it an enviable image as a premier and outstanding tertiary institution in Liberia,” Dr. Coleman added.
The Interim UMU President also warned students to govern themselves accordingly to ensure that they always exhibit good moral character.
Students and members of the public who spoke to The Liberian Billboard expressed mixed emotions about the UMU administration’s decision. Some students said, they welcome the decision of the administration to expel all those involved, as the school is a Christian institution and should not condone any act immorality on the part of their students. However, another group told The Liberian Billboard that the students are already going through the legal process, and some have already spent time in jail, therefore, it is not the school’s prerogative to decide on their fate.
“There wasn’t any hearing on the matter. Their only ground was that those students caused embarrassment to the institution. They should have called for a hearing conference to hear both sides before rendering decision,” a student of the University told The Liberian Billboard.
Meanwhile, a third group opined to The Liberian Billboard that the University administration should have expelled only those involved with the sharing of the victim’s video and not the victim herself, as she is the one suffering the trauma and public ridicule associated with the issue.
It can be recalled, four students of the United Methodist University were arrested and sent to court for allegedly sharing the nude video of another student.
Charlotte Dixon, Deddeh Yarsiah, Anita Woods and Stephanie Ajavon were charged with sharing obscene materials, violating section 18.7 of the penal code law of the Republic of Liberia.
Sources say, on the last day of the final exams of the United Methodist University last semester, as it is a usual practice among female students, the victim (name withheld) along with the perpetrators decided to take some pictures in remembrance of the day. While taking these photos, the group noticed that the victim had a phone which produced nicer and clearer pictures.
“Charlotte Dixon, asked the victim to use her phone for the group photo, which she gladly did. After taking the photos, She then decided to go through the victim pictures and videos gallery, and while on her sneaky quest stumbled upon a nude video of the victim”, a source said.
Charlotte, according to our sources, immediately sent the video to one of the other three friends, who later transmitted it to the other two. From then onward, it became viral.
In the meantime, it is being reported that students of the University are planning a protest to voice their displeasure at at the University’s decision. Whether the protest is in solidarity with all parties expelled or only the victim, is not clear.