December 23, 2010
Eduardo Náter’s life after the commerial
By: Marilú C. Kercadó
On June 2010 a group of university students from different campuses of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) showed up on a TV commercial sponsored by the UPR. They were expressing their feeling against the strike and asking for the other students to end the movement that was against the fee and the tuition exemption.
Their apparent reason for appearing in this message was that they wanted to continue studying and end their academic semester while others just wanted to graduate.
The response of many students was that these students were paid actors. Others believed, like Monica Ortiz, a second year student at the UPRM said: “I believe that the students of this commercial don’t know how to express themselves and that is why they have to get in to so much trouble”.
Eduardo Náter, a student from the Mayagüez Campus, participated in this commercial and was one of the students who wanted to graduate. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Civil Engineering department on October 10, finishing his bachelor’s degree in five years. Currently he is doing a Master’s degree in Transportation Engineering at UPRM.
During his bachelor’s degree he had full federal aid with Pell Grant, Smart Grant and Federal Loans, along with some help from his family to pay his rent and bills.
For the continuation of his education he was planning to work during summer to pay his education, but he couldn’t because as he said, “There was no way of knowing when the classes going to start again.”
Náter explained the reason of the commercial as follows: “The commercials were done as a means of expressing our frustration and concerns about our university being closed and all the harm that was being done to the institution, the students, faculty and employees.”
Nater claims that the commercial was an initiative from the students that participated in it and they were never obligated to do it. “The commercials were part of our efforts to get our message out to the public. We wanted to help in any way we could.” They presented their support to the administration giving their contact information and giving their ideas.
Primera Hora published a list of the prices of each advertisement. Before the appearance of this commercial, the UPR spent more than $150,000 on advertisements against the strike. In newspaper they spent more than $4,000 for each advertisement.
A list provided by Televicentro show that TV commercial are expensive, and the money used for this commercials were from the UPR money, but Náter didn’t get paid for this commercial.”I did not get paid for the commercials or anything I did during the strike. Everything was voluntary and out of my free will”.
Telemundo of Puerto Rico reported on June 8,2010 , where they declare that these students were receiving threats via social networks and they have proved many controversies between the protesters and them.
Náter’s life changed after his appearance in the commercial. Suddenly he was on the public eye; he received both threatening and congratulating messages. “They did not scare me but totally the opposite, they gave me the strength to continue as I now know that our message was going through and was having an effect”, he said.
understand that if one doesn’t defend his or her rights, no one will do it for them” , Náter said explaining his reason to do it again.
Náter wasn’t the only one to receive congratulations or threatening messages, the other students received them too since they were in the public eye. Náter also received hateful message against his family which was one of the hardest parts for him, because his family is involuntarily involved.
Regarding the congratulatory messages and support Náter said: “Most of my friends and classmates congratulated me and even gave me ideas to continue the battle against the UPR being closed.” He received a lot of help after the commercial and support to continue defending his rights and representing others.
Eduardo Náter is against the fee and against the strike because he believes that the strike brings several damages and puts in danger the status of the university. He suggests the following “Every protest should be done in a way that does not force anyone else to do something that he does not want to. Rallies are successful in numbers, not in the use of force.”
Caro Leysa, Diaz , Vargas. “Huelga en la UPR Día 48: El viernes se reanudan las negociaciones”