Teresa M. Rodriguez – Feature Story

The Women’s Action Comitee (CAM) from the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez

By: Teresa M. Rodríguez De Jesús


The University of Puerto Rico has suffered some changes in the last months. Among other things a new stabilization fee has been imposed over the students and because of this many manifestations and student organizations have been developed. Students have gathered to fight for their rights against everything they find unjust.

In the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez (UPRM) organizations like the Women’s Action Committee (CAM- for its acronym in Spanish) have organized to make a difference on campus. This organization was formed because of an activity done the last week of the student strike in June 2010. In such activity the students reflected about the women’s participation in important events against the measures taken by the administration.

This committee has the purpose to make visible and denounce violence against women inside and outside the university’s community. Coraly Capetillo (pseudonym) a member of the CAM gave the complete details about how, why and when the CAM was organized; she also addend the objective, vision and mission of the organization.

The CAM was structured between the months of September and October as a work committee and a space for political education of women. However, although it is primarily for women it is not exclusively since there are men who also participate.

To deconstruct male chauvinism in the different action committees and create a space of critic gender solidarity and autocracy is the main purpose of the CAM.

Capetillo said that the CAM was shaped to satisfy and prioritize fundamentally the education and formation of the women leaders inside the student movements. “Even though many things have changed in the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), we are more determined than ever to maintain our education and it is very important that the rest of the student community does as well, especially those who want to fight for our rights” added Capetillo.

This organization recognizes the women contributing in the student movements of the university, and gives them credit for their participation in these engagements.

Capetillo said that “we are here to make public women’s perspectives and necessities inside our university.” she strongly believes in breaking with the tradition of the “most capable person” which only gives women their place if demanded by them.

Coraly expressed that her compromise was“To educate, denounce and fight to eradicate every sexist cultural pattern that discriminates because of gender in society but especially in the university’s community. “

The CAM’s meetings take place in the Chardón Lobby every Tuesday from 7:30 to 9:00pm and anybody is welcomed.

Other student organizations have formed through social networks like Faceebook. “Colegiales Unidos Pro Educación” (CUPE) according to the information found on their page, was created to maintain the doors open for dialogue to guarantee the interests of the UPRM student community and promote that their preoccupations are addressed in the most legitimate way.

CUPE’s Facebook page also informs that they are totally against any strike that will affect the education process and that they foment that the UPRM communities need be addressed in a democratic way without appealing any unnecessary resources.

Another Facebook group concerning this theme is “Universitarios en contra del Paro y Huelgas en la UPR” (Students against strikes in the UPR).  This group also represents the students that believe that strikes and the stop of classes without reason do not resolve any of the problems the University of Puerto Rico in general is facing.

Also on Facebook informing the UPR students about what happens in the campuses of the UPR system concerning issues with the Comonwealth of Puerto Rico and the university; the group “Estudiantes de la UPR informan” (Students of the UPR inform) was created on April 17th, 2010.

As posted on the page “The main purpose of this web space is to inform…
It is essential the UPR community, especially its students, become informed adequately about the events which involve the UPR System before they commit to passionate decisions, which even though necessary, in many occasions are also based on half truths.”

The page expresses that Puerto Rico confronts difficult times and that the public education must me defended and be based on truthfulness. “The common student and Puerto Rican society in general is bombarded continuously by “half truths” by part of the administration of the university, individuals who seek recognition and whose priorities do not include the wellbeing of the majority of the UPR student community and the media.” states the Facebook group.

Student organizations have emerged in the UPRM as well as in other campuses of the UPR system as a method of communication and negotiation between the student community and the administration. Every group follows its own beliefs and defends its needs as they believe necessary.








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