It also concerns other campuses

<<By: Guanina Cotto and Raydaliz S. Cancel>>

The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Medical Sciences Campus faces a controversy because of the hiring of ex-convict ophthalmologist René Vázquez Botet as assistant professor. Botet was accused of trading political influences for contracts about the “Superacueducto,” a project in the 2000s, where many of the people involved were accused of corrupttion and theft.

In fact, there was a problem before with Ricardo Roselló, chosen as a professor at the Medical Sciences Campus, which makes them both stretchy linked with the New Progressive Party (PNP), that has been a strong enemy of the University of Puerto Rico.

Many members of the UPR community do not know about this big problem concerning one of our University campuses.

Botet would be paid $165 an hour as pediatric ophthalmologist and probably, will gain even more if he is hired as assistant professor. The president of the UPR, Miguel Muñoz, is totally against the decision of hiring René Vázquez Botet as an assistant professor. “I don’t have any problems with the contract he has for intramural practice but here we are talking about a teaching, academic post… I don’t endorse that initiative,” said Miguel Muñoz to El Nuevo Día on Oct 3, 2012.

Interviews were mas made in the UPR-Mayagüez to inquire about how students felt about this issue. Incredibly, just a small percent of the students knew about this. “Do you know about the case of hiring René Vázquez Botet as assistant professor at the Medical Sciences campus?” A “no” was the answer from 10 out of 14 students, but at least, after explaining the situation to them they could give their opinion about this case through other questions.

Another of the questions asked was, “how would you feel taking classes with someone so corrupt as assistant professor?” The majority of students were totally against hiring Botet. Eduardo Sinigaglia, a history student from the UPRM major, said “I would feel like taking classes with Romero Barceló, extremely degraded.”

Similarly, Emilie Velázquez, a student from the University of Central Florida is concerned about the things happening at the UPR since it was her first college option. For her “a person like René Vazquez Botet with a criminal record like those should not be hired for such serious job, especially if we are talking about such university.”

On the other hand, many students are completely unaware of the University problems; with not even the slightest desire in intervening with any of this issues. Regardless of the lack of interest to this subject that some students may demonstrate there is also a strong and willful desire against a nationally proven corrupted professional such as Botet.

There are students who see these occurring in the Medical Sciences University as a highly political problem and they oppose the politicization of this institution. One biology student in particular who will soon graduate and is currently applying to various medical schools in the island thought this situation to be shameful and is even questioning the integrity of the institution and now has placed the institution in second priority of interest. “It is highly questionable the functionality of this institution as one that looks after and promotes the scientific contribution to health sciences and the well being of this nation because of the acceptance of non objective people that work in the institution,” said Christian Rivera, UPRM student.

However, Vázquez Botet has also received the support of some sectors. According to Telemundo Noticias, House of Representative’s ex-president José Aponte Hernández said “there is no inconvenience for the Medical Sciences Campus to offer a job as an assistant professor to René Vázquez Botet since he was imprisoned for corruption and not for poor performance of his medical knowledge.” A couple of students from the UPR system also answer supporting his decision, “his job has nothing to do with his past criminal case” said Christian Medina, a mechanical engineering major.

Although there is still controversy among the people of Puerto Rico in Botet’s case, the University has joined the opposition of his naming, as said before by the UPR president, Miguel Muñoz.

Dr. René Vázquez Botet, a pediatric ophthalmologist, is facing problems with his hiring at UPR-Ciencias Médicas. [El Nuevo Día]

Dr. René Vázquez Botet, a pediatric ophthalmologist, is facing problems with his hiring at UPR-Ciencias Médicas. [El Nuevo Día]

UPR President Miguel Muñoz will not approve the keeping René Vázquez Botet as assistant professor. [Primera Hora]

UPR President Miguel Muñoz will not approve the keeping René Vázquez Botet as assistant professor. [Primera Hora]

 

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