What happens after the UPR strike

by Jun 13, 2017Puerto Rico0 comments

In its fifth assembly, the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico decided to lift their strike with 2,209 votes in favor and 82 against. This decision comes after nearly two months with campuses gates closed and $24 thousand in fines.

The strike began as a measure against proposal for a $500 million budget cut from the Oversight Board. Other matters that became relevant to the student movement such as creating a university reform plan, pushing for a public committee to audit the debt, that there’d be no increase in tuition and that then Interim President Nivia Fernández resign and be eliminated from the candidate pool for the permanent position.

The motion to lift the strike was presented by Loidymar Dyprey, a student from the Social Sciences Faculty and member of the student movement, who expressed that the strike must now evolve. The motion also included that all the committees created during the strike continue their labors. “We have the will, we have the courage and we have the want to ensure that this university prioritizes the welfare of all the sectors that we compose and that we won’t rest until we see [the university] open forever,” exclaimed Duprey.

During the assembly flyers were distributed listing the committees, initiatives, and marches that were organized since February when the first assembly was held along with the achievements of the Student Movement. Among these are the May 1 General Strike and various student marches held in front of La Fortaleza and the Capitol.

The budget cuts are now at $250 million as revealed by the budget proposal presented by Governor Ricardo Rosselló. The budget has since been removed from public sources including the newspaper El Vocero article on the subject. This would mean an increase in tuition for students, nearly $3,500 annually, meaning that attending the only public higher education institution in Puerto Rico would cost the same as a private university. This still risks the university’s accreditation as Middle States has stated that the budget cuts put the institutions financial security at risk.  

Classes in the Río Piedras campus resumed on June 12.