sexta-feira, maio 14, 2010

State of Puerto Rico locks students inside UPR

Just yesterday, May 13th, the students of the Rio Piedras’ campus of University of Puerto Rico ratified the 22 day strike with an evident majority of votes in favor at a General Assembly that was proposed and organized by the institution’s own administration. Today that same administration backed with full government support have intensified and reinforced their represive schemes against the student movement stepping over our constitutional right to protest. We condemn rector Ana Guadalupe’s decision to activate the police forces against us and we reiterate yesterday’s vote demanding her resignation as well as president Jose Ramón De la Torre’s. Since 4am there has been heavy police presence around the campus; different police units have been brought to guard all posible entrances and to restrict access of students and those in solidarity. We wish to publicly alert the national and international media that up until now they have prohibited not only the entrance of civilians, but also and more alarming, the entry of food donations and supplies needed by the hundreds of students that are currently occupying the campus. The students that reside on campus are being forced to move out and are being threatened with the nonrenewal of housing contracts. We also expect water and electricity on campus to be cut off by 1:00pm.

We exhort all students, professors, workers and civilians; every member of every community, to surround the university gates as they have done themselves. We exhort everybody’s presence here today; we need everyone’s solidarity and support if we are to endure this struggle. We want to let the administration know that their attempts to intimidate have been not only represive but exagerated and unnecesary. We will not allow that the democracy the university’s administration proclaims to practice be arbitrary and partial. Those who participated in the General Student’s Assembly yesterday, experienced a real democratic process in action. The assembly is sovereign and in assembly we voted to continue the strike. We are here to defend the right of all puertorican students to a public education and here we will remain until the administration decides to cooperate and negotiate.

We need everyone’s solidarity and support. Ten out of the eleven campuses that make up the UPR system have declared themselves on strike. All are participating of the same struggle. The same struggle being fought all over the World.

United we stand, divided we fall.

Humanities Action Comitee,
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus

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Student Strike Continues at University of Puerto Rico disse...

An extraordinary Assembly in which about 2,000 people participated on thursday approved continuing the student strike that has paralyzed the Universidad de Puerto Rico for more than three weeks.

The strike was launched to protest a cut of $100 million in the University’s budget.

The assembly, convened by the General Council of Students to demand from the Negotiating Committee information about the status of the talks, voted to maintain the protest for an indefinite period despite the fear expressed by some participants about the possible loss of the school year.

UPR President Jose Ramon de la Torre had been confident that Thursday’s assembly would mark the end of the strike.

The San Juan press reported Thursday that the convening of the assembly came in response to the different stances maintained by different student sectors, which diverge over how to press their demands.

Some sectors – according to these reports – are lobbying for lifting the strike with the achievements obtained so far and continuing the negotiations from within, while others want to continue the protest until more substantial results and agreements are secured.

The president of the UPR’s board of trustees, Ygri Rivera, said that every day the strike continues costs the institution roughly $1 million.

Meanwhile, economist Jose Alamada said that the total cost of the strike up to now has been $52 million, if one adds to the main San Juan campus the costs of the closure of the rest of the institution’s campuses elsewhere on the island.

The tuition hike cap of 4 percent being demanded by the students and the UPR’s exclusion from the government’s so-called Public Private Alliances are the obstacles pointed to by the press that remain in the way of a definitive accord.

The UPR has 11 campuses around the island that provided educational services for about 65,000 students.