Fighting the Fee
December 7, 2010
By: Juan Alicea
Born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Jorge Rivera was trying to decide to where continue his studies when he graduated from a public school in 2007. He had several options, but finally he decided to study accounting in the University of Puerto Rico- Río Piedras to later study law in the same university. His family was fine with the decision because they were not able to pay a private school.
One day he met a young woman named Patricia and fell in love with her. They began to hang out a lot. One day Patricia told Jorge that she was pregnant. Jorge was very scared because he didn’t know how to say that to his parents and to talk to his mother-in-law. Jorge knew that they didn’t have the money to support a child at the moment. One day he decided to talk with his parents, his mom was very happy because she was going be a grandmother, but his father was very angry in the beginning. Later he spoke very seriously with Jorge; he said that he needed to get a job to support the child.
Jorge began to work in training in a company. He saved the money in a bank and he stopped hanging out. The child was born on October 19, 2008 and they named him Diego Orlando. He and his family were very happy because of Diego and Jorge. His family said that when Diego was born Jorge matured because he only dedicated time to his studies, his work and his new family. Manuel Rivera, brother , said: “He is an example for me because he gets more mature and dedicated to his family, studies and work’’
Everything was going well, but one day the Administration of the University of Puerto Rico decided to impose a fee for the amount of $800. He was frustrated because he knows that he can’t pay that amount of money to continue his studies in the UPR-RP. When other students began with demonstrations against the fee, he decided that he had to participate because he and his son need it. He felt compelled to go to the assemblies to support all the students, himself and his son. In the assembly the students ratified the strike.
According to wapa.tv the administration planned to impose the fee in August, but students like Jorge participated actively in a big strike that lasted two months from May to June. In this case, the students won and the administration met some of the demands of the students that led the strike. Later the administration planned to impose the same fee in January at the end of the student strike on June 21, 2010 where the students ratified a preventive vote if the administration imposes the fee in January.
Jorge was happy at the moment because he didn’t have to pay the fee and he can continue his studies in the UPR-RP. Patricia remembered “I had to take care of Diego alone some times because Jorge was at the gates fighting for a better life for Diego, his family, other students and for me.”
Jorge is very nervous that this semester is almost running and the administration apparently doesn’t want to negotiate with the students. “This is not fair, I have been sacrificed to give the best to my son I want to continue my studies here, but if they impose the fee I think that I can’t.” -says Jorge.
According to primerahora.com, the UPR-RP students in the assembly on December 1, 2010 they ratified a stoppage on December 7 and 8. They ratify that if the administration doesn’t want to negotiate or eliminate the fee they will begin a strike on December 14, 2010.
Jorge participated in these assemblies this semester and in those demonstrations “to fight for justice for me and for the other students, including the ones who are against the strike.” “I have some motivations to never give up and the most important one is Diego, so I will never give up that’s for sure