Friday, May 28, 2010
Conflict at University of Puerto Rico
I am always interested in what is going on in academia. Please find below info on the conflict at the University of Puerto Rico:
Dear colleagues, students, and friends:
As many of you already know, students at the University of Puerto Rico have been on strike for 37 days now and have de facto paralyzed all but one of the eleven campuses that comprise the system. At the core of this conflict is the future of public higher education in Puerto Rico. This includes critical issues concerning the current state budgetary crisis and its potentially detrimental effects on the life of the university, but it also bears upon questions that go beyond economic matters, as we hope the information enclosed below makes clear.
Even though talks between students and the university administration have recently resumed, the situation is still volatile and rather precarious. Students have been beaten by the police as recently as last week, and riot squads have been deployed, and are still on call, to siege university campuses all around the island. Two weeks ago Police Chief José Figueroa Sancha, with the support of university authorities, forbade water and food supplies to students who are occupying the main campus of the system (Río Piedras). This measure was finally withdrawn after much outrage from the community. Most recently, this past Monday a student, Natalia Sánchez López, died from unknown causes following her participation in a student assembly on the Mayagüez campus. University authorities had ensured that this gathering would take place in uncomfortable and potentially harmful conditions in order to discourage participation. Many students were treated for dehydration throughout the proceedings, and an investigation into Natalia’s death is still under way. Finally, yesterday several thousand protesters, of all ages and backgrounds, marched on the capitol building and the governor’s mansion in support of the students’ demands.
For your information, we are enclosing here a link to a segment on Amy Goodman’s program, Democracy Now, that addresses this current crisis, a link to a NYT article on the strike, and both the original Spanish version and an English translation of the Declaration of Puerto Rican Academics in the US (originally published in Spanish on May 20, 2010 and signed by 65 professors) in which we discuss some of the deeper implications of the conflict. Below you will also find two additional links: 1) to the students’ news service (Desde Adentro-rojogallito); and 2) to the strikers’ own radio station (Radio Huelga).
As this situation has received so little coverage outside Puerto Rico, some of us have deemed it important to send this information to our networks. Please help us to disseminate it by sharing it with your lists.
Agnes Lugo-Ortiz, The University of Chicago
Aldo Lauria-Santiago, Rutgers University
Ivette Hernández-Torres, University of California, Irvine
Luis Avilés, University of California, Irvine
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now
NYT Article on PR Student Strike
U.S. | May 21, 2010
Student Protests Tie Up Campuses in Puerto Rico
By OMAYA SOSA-PASCUAL and EMMA GRAVES FITZSIMMONS
Most of the University of Puerto Rico system has been shut down by students seeking greater transparency.
UPR Student News Service, Desde Adentro-rojogallito