UPR Economic Jumble Situation
By: Zuleyka M. Méndez Rivera
December 7, 2010
As the University of Puerto Rico struggle tries to resolve its economic situation after its great despair, the students are defending their rights and economic situations. The Board of Regents plans to impose a fee of $800 to establish the UPR system finance, so the administration can pay the loan they make to stabilize their budget.
This first semester from August to December, 2010 students had made manifestations, marches, and assemblies to show the UPR administration and Board of Regents their oppositions to this fee. Many students are seriously worried about the situation because their economic situation is also on depression.
On January 2011 the Board of Regents will impose the fee. The Regents said that the purpose of the fee is to pay the interest of a loan of $100 million the UPR administration made on summer, just after the strike ended.
On October 28, 2010 at the UPR-Mayagüez the student organization Colegiales en Accion organized a march against the fee. At this march Astrid Caraballo a freshman student who has two siblings at the UPRM said, “I don’t have scholarship, my family economic situation is on crisis if this fee is implanted, my siblings and I have to drop off from college”. As this student many other students have to decide what to do with their studies and future.
As facebook pages about this situation inform, many family economic situations are on crisis, on the cases where there are more than one college students, many of them have to decide which one stays studying and which one has to drop off. On Facebook, Estudiantes de la UPR Informan said many students will have to work and study if they want to have a secure future.
The UPR budget has been cut by $100 million causing the administration to impose the fee; they also cut course sections and professor contracts. As reported by El Nuevo Dia on September, 2010 many students at the UPR’s are studying with less than the minimum number of credits needed. Many course sections that were closed caused that the sections opened are overcrowded
At the UPRM, Gloria, a chemistry laboratory instructor said “this semester I had more than the maximum number of students accepted at the laboratory section, which makes laboratories difficult. Because this situation there not sufficient materials for every student enrolled in the class.”
“This situation is like a scramble egg, I have to drop off the universities, I don’t the resources to pay this fee,” said Rolando Cruz a sophomore engineering student. “If situations keep like this many students are going to drop off”.
The Socialism International organization was interviewed and said “ There are many other ways to pay the loan the administration made, they could charge the private companies that owe to the UPR, force banks and insurance company to pay their taxes, this way public education could be accessible for everyone.”
Dialogo Digital reported that a survey was made about how many student will drop off the college, how many could pay it with any resource and stay at college. After this survey the result was that the majorities would drop off the college.
The UPR administration and the Board of Regents inform that 10 thousands of the students can’t pay the fee. These students are from low income family, son and daughter of the worker of Puerto Rico. These families are also been affected by the political actions as the Nuevo Dia reported on December.
On October 13,2010 the Socialismo Internacional organization said at a interview that the fee is not the only situation affecting the UPR, other situations are the reduction of courses, the reduction of non-teaching staff and teachings, bad security at the Universities. If the Board of Regents and the administration achieve the reduction of college students at all the UPR’s, if they could make this, is easier to make the privatization of the UPR’s. These opinions are of different students that are part of the organization mentioned above.