“Colegio” Students Shout Out to the UPR Administration, No Strike, NO FEE!!!!
By: Camila S. Ortiz González
The reigning spirit in the general student assembly on December 2nd in the Mangual Coliseum at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez was one of uncertainty, fear, anger, but at the same time disappointment with the UPR administration. About 4,041 “Colegio” students attended the assembly convoked by the Students General Council of the UPRM.
Quorum was reached and the assembly started at about 12:30 p.m. even though it was supposed to begin at 10:30 a.m. Nevertheless student assembly began with a crowded very energetic crowd of noisy and impatient university students.
The agenda established by the Student Council was as follows: call to order coming from the Council’s President, quorum verification, the reading of the President’s report and discussed of the $800 stabilization fee, the accreditation of the “Colegio” and finally the student cafeteria.
During the discussion pertaining to the $800 stabilization fee, a member of the Student Council first read out loud the official report of the Student Council, which specifically states that the Certification #146, which imposes the $800 stabilization fee, is an opposition to the Certification #60.
The Certification # 60 states that there will be a formula that will be applied to be used to adjust the costs of the enrollment in the 11 campuses of the University of Puerto Rico. However, on June 29th 2010, the Board of Regents of the University of Puerto Rico approved Certification #146, which establishes that from January 2011 and each subsequent academic year, every student enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico will pay the stabilization fee which will be determined annually.
The students of the UPRM proposed that the Student Council draw up a document stating that the students oppose the $800 stabilization fee. Immediately, after this proposal, Roberto J. Angueira Calero, president of the Student Body, expressed to his fellow students the Student’s Council official position towards the stabilization fee which is also of total opposition to it. The vast majority of the student present voted in favor of approving the report of the Student Council about the stabilization fee.
Subsequently, the Student Council President proceeded to discuss the accreditation of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. On June 24, the Middle States placed 10 of the 11 campuses on probation because of lack of evidence that the institution is in compliance with Standard 4 (Leadership and Governance) and Standard 11 (Educational Offerings) as stated in their final report (UPR Visiting Team Final Report). Most importantly, in November the MSCHE indicated in a subsequent report that the UPRM also failed to fulfill Standard #2: Planning and the distribution of resources and institutional renovation.
The student assembly proposed that because of the pending accreditation of their institution is that they will not approve of any strike or demonstration that would paralyze the academic and administrative functions at the university, but most of all that would automatically put in danger the accreditation of this prestigious institution.
After the student council representative read the Council’s report on the accreditation of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez there was great commotion in the auditorium because student Alberto Rodriguez, intervened and reclaimed that the report was vague and lacked information related to the discussion in question and also, that if we approved this report it would be a disrespectful act upon ourselves.
Rodríguez stated: “The opposition to the fee is noticeable in the “Colegio” and also the open door to discussion, but there is still a lot of ignorance.”
“The intention of the students is to look for other alternatives to a strike, because for UPRM students, paralyzing the university doesn’t look good. In this student assembly we didn’t take real decisions, decisions and actions against the imposition of the $800 stabilization fee”.
Eduardo Náter, active member the organization Student for an Open University replied: “I am very pleased with the positive decision the students of the University of Puerto-Mayaguez of not utilizing a strike as a mechanism to fight the stabilization fee because this would definitely put in danger the accreditation of this superior institution”.
Finally, the students of the UPRM decided that there wouldn’t be any strikes or any administrative or academic cease of any activity in the Mayagüez Campus.