This column was written by the blogger visitor, Rolon Lissette Collazo. Lissette is a professor of humanities and comparative literature at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (RUM), where he also directs the University Center for Access-a project that seeks to understand and address the unequal access to higher education in Puerto Rico.
by Lissette Collazo Rolon
The measure of decency and dignity of the country can be measured in several ways. I propose a few criteria: how they treat their viejx, their niñxs, their students, their marginadxs, their enfermxs, their pets, to LA Anarchist beings who, somehow, are vulnerable to the interests of capital productive . In Puerto Rico we get F on those criteria and you just need a look for the urban and rural landscape of our country to infect an ancient punishment for the neglect in which we almost always vegan. You only have to look at our figures child abuse and school dropouts to recognize that we are failing as a decent and dignified country.
However, in the last two weeks of April, just on the eve of a rainy spring in the Caribbean archipelago, have botao Ball government officials in power, the U.S. Congress and as many bureaucrats today. University students have besieged the. In a country where public education university fired one stroke with a $ 800 fee, now Administrative Boards, which are more aware of squaring budgets at all costs and be happy some-have reduced enrollment slots with a magic and secret operation. The academic and social reasons have been off the table. Decontextualized numbers have been imposed. The case of the Department of Humanities , whose program of increased demand (Fine Arts) has had a reduction of 20 to 50 seats in only two academic years is a warning sign. I do not know if teachers were consulted, know if the Academic Senate had any jurisdiction in such decisions, but the fact is that is in effect and thus have conducted two admissions process in recent years.
Now also the U.S. Congress wants to balance its budget to the poor. Pell grants and student loans have been their scapegoat. In short, now a student has six years instead of eight, to finish high school, get full scholarship requires a lower poverty level and pay more interest on loans. The first issue could be seen as a settling of accounts in favor of quality when viewed in a vacuum. But none of these things happen in a vacuum. In the UPR graduate in six years about 50%. There are private universities graduate only 8%. However, the measure is more myopic belief. In the RUM, where I teach college thirteen years ago and where I run Access University Center (AUC) since January 2011, there are students who have to wait three years or more to get into a course enrollment core requirement without which they can not take one specialty course. Now, to make matters worse, if you fail or you drop one of these courses funnel (think of pre-calculus, but there are other examples), will not be eligible to register the same as a matter of priority, so your expected to repeating the same may be even longer. As stated by Rima Brusi , rope weakest part so. Do scissor blind geniuses think of that? Maybe. So they thought he had to admit fewer students, that is, reducing quotas. Again, in a vacuum, that would be reasonable and logical. But either.
What options are left for the students staying outside the UPR? Enroll in private university or college do. The first problem is that the private university with higher graduation rates in six years has 35%, the others leave much to be desired. What will happen to all those who are outside? What will happen to those who do not graduate in the six years that will cover the Pell grant?
He left without educational and career choices and the will to seek whatever. The outcome of that story we know well. Domina newscasts and newspapers. Master the statistics of social deterioration. Given this scenario, we will have no choice but to declare Puerto Rico as a hopeless country. Decency and dignity shine by their absence and we will all be worse. If this analysis does not interest the public university of Puerto Rico are lost. Soon we will have the democratization of knowledge as a once upon a time. We have a broken spring in Puerto Rico.Print
Column published in the New Day Saturday. Click here to visit original in endi.com.
Lately many question the true value of a university degree. But the truth is that achieving a college degree increases the chances of getting a job, and the quality of life, the average salary of an employee and their potential contribution to the treasury through taxes.
Our Puerto Rican students know this, and therefore enroll in large numbers every year, in one of the college programs available on the island.
To a large extent, can do so thanks to the existence of financial aid, the most important of which is the federal Pell Grant. A total of 276.549 students receive Pell Puerto Rico, including two out of three students enrolled in any of the campuses of the university system of Puerto Rico.
But Pell grants at risk and the silence of our politicians regarding this danger never ceases to amaze. A few months ago, our resident commissioner, confidently stated that there would be cuts to the Pell grant. However, at this time, both the U.S. House and Senate budget proposals and discuss many of these projects, some with bipartisan support, include proposals to significantly cut the Pell program funds.
The budget recently passed by the House would significantly reduce Pell eligibility and reduce the maximum grant to $ 3.040 per student per year. That is $ 2.010 less than the current maximum.
In Puerto Rico, it would imply that about 22,000 students receiving Pell now would no longer be eligible and lost, and that those who maintain their eligibility would experience an average reduction of $ 1.881. This right after college tuition less expensive on the island has been an increase of $ 800 per year, and average annual investment in student textbooks and materials is around $ 1.137.
We have a Republican governor and resident commissioner Democrat. What are they doing both to avoid what is clearly a disaster for Puerto Rican education?Print
Again. It crashes the economy, and some (many) federal-level politicians (well, at all levels) are looking to save a few bucks reaching into the (increasingly less) areas designed to preserve some social mobility in the United States.
This time aim, and proudly reflected in the budget approved last Friday by the House of Representatives in 2012, dramatically cut funding for the Pell grant. From a peak of $ 5.550 current year, we now turn to a possible maximum of only $ 3.040.
This affects everyone the / as poor students and working class in America. In Puerto Rico, where public university is (currently) cheaper but the average salary is much lower, it will probably also catastrophic. Combined with the potential rise of the UPR that is upon us, the issue of reducing Pell is very serious.
! Pierluisi not wait! It ruled the House, but we're on time: visit this page to read more and sign the petition that is circulating Ed Trust to lobby the Senate in Washington:
Sign the petition. If the Pell allowed you and / or your children / as studying, you can tell your story there. Sign, sign, sign .... the thing is urgent.Print
... It was the best of times, it was the worst of time s ... starts a Dickens novel . I felt a bit like yesterday, when I saw, incredulously, the images of a student mob attacking the rector at Rio Piedras.
It was a mob. was not, I think, the movement I've seen him perform so many times. I do not know if some of the actors were the same. Maybe, maybe not.
But the movement is to be met , again and again, to talk and discuss with each other, to build concerted positions, to make democracy from below and to the sides, to demand dialogue, resist peacefully, invent , write, communicate , create. That is. Because if anything the country has learned of his students, is the importance of thinking and discussing , collectively, for democracy. And spaces to preserve it.
The mob is the (frustrated) attacks and screams. 's that allows the opponent cynical take moral high groun d. The one who throws objects, which attacks his enemy with the weapons that has for some time disowned ando. With that we should all avoid.
With all my heart I hope to see again the movement . For mobs-we have the legislature.Print
Brian, a longtime resident of Michigan, went to college for profit (in English, 'for profit college') to obtain a degree in computer programming. Change.org , in partnership with Education Trust, tells us its history: It was not until after signing a contract that recruiters told that his scholarship will cover only a modest portion of the tuition costs, and would have to apply for student loans. Several years and $ 70,000 later, has a degree, but the work to which that degree makes you eligible pay very little, and lives eternally indebted.
In the United States, the for-profit sector, capturing 24 billion annually until federal money intended to help students earn college degrees. There is a minor player: recruit about 12% of American college students, and of these, 60% enter baccalaureate programs. And it is in these programs that "for profits" are being cruelly ineffective because their graduation rates four years programs are, on average (with some very few honorable exceptions) very low.
In 2009-2010, the for profit University of Phoenix was the first university in the educational history of the United States to get 1 billion (1,000,000,000!) in Pell grants. This is because they recruit a disproportionate number of low-income students. How many of them graduate? 9%. Less than one in ten.
The thing, encapsulated, it looks something like this: recruit aggressively among students who qualify for federal aid, they charge the total amount of such aid and much more, the indebted, not graduate.
Will not have sufficient funds to provide student services (counseling, tutoring, child care, and other support) to increase those graduation rates? Do not think: the president of one of these companies earned about 40 million (40,000,000, many zeros) in a single year. For something called "for profit".
All this is, I think, very relevant to Puerto Rico, especially now that seems to be weakening public higher education. The institutions of this type seem to have multiplied in our island. About that I have no numbers, but I've seen their signs, their When babies, their recruiters walking from door to door on farms and in villages like Jehovah's Witnesses. Many do not graduate. Other graduate but remain indebted. Some get jobs, but jobs are not enough to repay their loans. I have a family member with a history like this: after graduating from chef, and work night after night in a hot kitchen in a restaurant rather fine, you would pay the full check a room in a shared apartment and ... their loans. And that's a success story, at least graduated.
So eye to the proliferation of degrees for profit in Puerto Rico, as well say that in troubled waters ... We must protect the public university, because the less public options, our youth more vulnerable to this type of gansería. And please, pass, read and if you can sign the petition links here , or give "click" a sad kid photo, and sign a petition in support of efforts to regulate the education sector minimally university for profit. What do guys, ok-but to provide a better product. One with quality content, support for students, improved graduation rates and, why not, lower costs. So not fair to kids. A disadvantage expense of others, the lack of options for the most disadvantaged.
It is true that not be surprised. We should not. I mean, if we were perfectly rational beings, surely we would not. But we are not perfectly rational beings, yet we are surprised every time Chuchin farandulea, whenever Chemo mounted an expedition to hunt gargoyles, and whenever nonsense Evelyn says, We are surprised and disappointed to discover (as if I ever had been 'covered'!) that the man who governs us is living in another country, We are surprised that the rector of the Yuppie is enclose in his office in the middle of a riot, or not only accept but actively seek the presence of police (armed, mounted, and large) on the centenary exhibition .
We opened his mouth in a classic gesture of surprise every time the university president opened his country to charge students any and all violence, to call anarcolocos, or scold them for walking propasándose with that of freedom of expression.
Certainly not be surprised. But I am surprised, and I suspect that you, the reader, too. [He has given me today to talk to you reader, as do the governors in their speeches.] Come, reader, try it. The next time the political leadership, including the university, say or do something outrageous like that to get a drink and shout during the governor's speech, within capitol , examine your physical reaction. Not the interpreters at the moment. I know you want to call it anger, and maybe some of it is. I know we use humor, and you want to call it mockery, and some of it is too. But mind you in the face and arms of yours, and accompanies you. And you'll see. The eyes are grown, the mouth opens, the eyebrows are raised, arms flapping. We look like owls, prisoners of a panic attack and ready to fly ... somewhere, anywhere, to sit quietly in a branch and prosecute the matter, then to make the joke, or indignant comodiosmanda.
I think that deep down, we are surprised not ingenuity but by a basic decency that may be protected. That deep, people tend not to believe, not necessarily to trust in his leadership, but to wish that it fits. And this happens not only in democracies. I do not know if you've seen, the reader, the film The King's Speech . In it the English monarch, George VI ascended the throne a bit by accident and has to address his people on the very threshold of the Second World War. Which is no small thing, and worsened terribly because the king was gago, gaguísimo famously stuttering and gave the chiripiorca that especially in front of microphones. Well, in the story, the king has a very nice speech therapist who helps a lot, and should go to the cinema to see it if not already done, but the point here is not that, but when the king will speak, the people stick to the radio, and all the old man, the old woman, the mother surrounded by babies, teenager, we all want, with all your soul, your king is well. No one is particularly interested in gufeárselo, nobody is ruling out a priori thinking "the gago that you can not do it." Everyone wants their king fits.
True, the story is fictionalized, surely, for the big screen, but I still think that there, in that expectation well-meaning of the English people, something that truly defines all the people who are still alive. And I think that deep down, every time the governor is directed to us, something inside of us really wanted to tell the truth, that whenever the Chancellor of the University is directed to the press, something alive in us would like to announce his decision to request that the police leave the campus, that when President De La Torre open your mouth, open ours too but this time not for the usual insult to the students but because it says something like that freedom of expression is respected, as the presence of shock strength hinders the possibility of dialogue , and that dialogue is such that there has to be a willingness to change and flexibility on both sides, including yours.
Perhaps the ability to surprise is good, and somehow hopeful, provided they do not lead us to paralysis. And then, instead of despising our surprise as if it were a sign of gullibility, we can accept that no obstacle to anger, humor, or action, and we can look with an open mouth in the mirror that is the countryman and confirm, together, we are still alive.Print
I'm away. I look through the lens of the media (and Facebook, which has become a very useful tool to get news fast, thanks to friends who generously share the news) what happens in college.
It's like a dream. One of the bad, sure.
Police focus on the campus of the Yuppie. And not just the police well, period. Also, perhaps especially, police on horseback, black police, and police shields surrounded by giants such as Roman soldiers, shields to protect themselves from ... what?
Because of that dreaded army of students sitting on the floor practicing, after training and public announcement, civil disobedience. The police are coming, so that sitting can feel the breath of the horses hooves nervousness. The pinch technology and techniques to learn from when they wanted to use and which were not when, or who. The push with shields, they take loaded, the arrest. The chase through the streets of the capital. They compartmentalize the protest (with signs designating specific areas for it), and then they change the coordinates in full case. I've literally seen as the poster instead move.
[In the room where I work, have put the sign away, far away from any university building. For the grumblers protest to the sound of coqui and crickets. But that's another story.]
When looking at the scene from a distance, it strikes me that if I were an alien, a foreigner or at least pretty clueless at the moment it would seem that in college there is a terrible enemy. Printing, the image would be based on the quantity and variety of police.
Then there is the sound. Hierarchs police to assure me that there are no "points" to break up, and we need to protect students who do want to take classes, college administrators justify intervention madness militarona appealing to the violent actions of a mysterious hooded apparently shares , everybody disapproves.
But the fact is that at the time of arrest, no hooded , almost never arrest the hooded, unless Tito Kayak , because that always want to arrest, but seem to prefer, in that the arrests, boys and ordinary girls, unarmed, captured while doing something as harmless as talking on megaphones or distribute slips. Or sit on the floor.
Then think foreign or alien, or the blogger, then it is something else. It is sending many police to create the impression that there, at the University, there is a terrible enemy of the people (because that's what for the police, right? To protect the people?), And made a lot of noise, talking in the media of the great threat that the students, to make the image more believable ... As in cheap films, where suddenly darkens the scene, to contact the scare eyes and ominous music sounds simultaneously, to enter it by ears ...
Image and sound, for the benefit of ordinary people with an interest in making democracy beyond the occasional vote, and that it is running rough esgalillao and trying to react to karst, the pipeline corridor, college, law school, the supreme court ...
Meanwhile, in the curious contraction of space that allow postmodernism internet, I have the New York Times open in another screen and seek to understand what is happening across the world, in Egypt, where intense protests have been a reaction s deaf and repression by the state. And, perhaps because they are the two screens open at once, Egypt feels suddenly very close, and sounds awfully familiar. A member of the Egyptian ruling party hopes that the tiredness will give them victory. Another speaks of "law and order" to justify their actions. Others accuse the grumblers to be few, or being a sector with particular ideological interests. They threaten to arrest. Meanwhile, democratic freedoms are eroded in the name of order and bring troops repression clutter the street.
Journalists who write the article remember the fight in the seventies of M. Ali vs. George Foreman, in which Foreman would beat, hits, hitting, fighting alone, and Ali waited ... until Foreman was weak, exhausted. And then Ali knocked him out.
To all this, the UPR President announces, proud happy , "the 94%" of students are enrolled. 51,000 students. Not that it is 94% of the students who were enrolled last year, no: is 94% of pre-registered. So the president joy I find quite unusual (yes, my ability to surprise me yet, at this point, you may be finding it unusual to the reader.) But is that 51,000 students is 14,000 fewer students than there were. The UPR has apparently lost 14,000 students. Nearly 50,000 come to the Board of Trustees estimated and wanted, not long ago . Not that going to break-is and are breaking. The UPR, according to these numbers, has lost over 20% of their students. That is good news for whom? Not to me. Not for the country.
It's like a dream. One of the bad, of course.Print
I do not like the word "obscurantism". In fact the dark reminds me all sorts of positive adjectives: Peaceful, quiet, mysterious.
But these days, and maybe by that which we were taught to associate the dark with the Middle Ages, it is impossible not to mention obscurantism.
The signs are everywhere: Our political leaders hunt gargoyles, for example. GARGOLAS, these demonic creatures roughly drains and serving as guardians of the Medieval roofs. They can not hunt Chupacabras, or aliens, or chase the comepantis of Gurabo, as before, no. They hunt gargoyles. And college students.
They also prohibit books. publicly burn them not, it is true, but the ban. And I'm not surprised they were burned also, frankly. The forbid by "obscene" because they talk about sex. language and action, of course, also accused college students.
They exhibit also a suspicious fixation with colors, the prayers, and the galleons lost under the sea . legislate to put a date to the greeting and smile. And to punish college students.
They talk of dismantling points and punish the criminal, and die while more women than ever at the hands of their partners or wanabí real. In a year of record murders, have decided to stick to the university police.
What? Namely. Talk of protecting life and property. But all the recent violence seems to occur depues U, and not before the arrival of the police public or private. Students perpetrating acts as criminal as .. er ... being in the wrong place and stick with it, have been kicked in the genitals and batons in their bellies. Parents who commit the barbarity of .. er ... bring lunch, return with broken face. Guiding intellect should lead the lead in place of anachronism bland exercise when justifying the presence of the police in a particularly peaceful campus with the excuse that there "leftists", as if it were left western half political spectrum, but a particularly dangerous criminal pathology.
Here it is truly dangerous deployment testing of force against intellectual dissent. We expected as much when we remember that we are not entirely agree with the idea of a pipeline, or when us suggest that the ecological corridor need their cords back, by that which we like the green, and breathe ... And a there is a infamous law, that law nicknamed "Tito Kayak" , designed to protest a construction is a felony. Was approved, by the way, loudly and without. Very appropriate, very metaphorical, that dodge the arithmetic of counting votes to favor the subjective perception of volume and no reward that in more detail but thought that screamed harder.
The flesh ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. That's a myth, a metaphor. But if a mayor can find gargoyles and aliens without losing Honorable prefix, then I can use the metaphor of the ostrich without losing the cache, and so I will. Every day, some ostrich celebrates innocently police presence at the University, by that law and order, or students accused of "start" or speaks of "two sides", as if it were in fact two armies. And then buries his head in the sand of obscurantism. We ask, please, that kick, look, and think. In this country we go.Print
Do not know if I can say it is the worst thing that happened (after all, it's been so, so fast!) But it has to be among the worst of the crisis: Figueroa Sancha announced in various forums its intention to open a headquarters in UPRRP, and his desire to do the same in each enclosure.
Why? Because, he says, we must "dismantle drug points".
It seems that the police have nothing to do. That there is no crime in the country.
They get used, says the rector Guadalupe. That will be a harmonious relationship, says the superintendent. It is necessary, says the governor of the land and the president of the university, in sinister stereo with identical words.
And that makes one think (and it is better to think while you can, because at this rate ...) in cosmology, in the world view that the super resolution, the president, the chancellor and gobe implies . At least in regard to the areas of crime and education, both certainly very starring in their campaign messages.
In record murder year, use a considerable amount of police officers (that word, "effective", I've always been very curious) to take the university to "maintain accreditation," said the rector, adding that "there Get used to the presence of the police. "
A crisis in public university? Police Meter has been the answer. This despite the fact that all incidents of violence have occurred this crisis appears on the scene once police (public or private). Dialogue?? Negotiation? No way. The hard line against those communists hairy, tell us in charge.
The world seems to be full of furry communists, lately, judging by the university protests in London, Greece, Ireland, California ... That, or we have to discard worn discourse of the cold war and begin to articulate what happens more often in Puerto Rico as part of a global phenomenon where public education and moral premises that support it, are under siege .
A Study of Technical Studies for the United Way, quoted in Poverty in Puerto Rico (L.Colón) indicates that among the victims of homicide in Puerto Rico, just under half had less than ninth grade education. Do the perpetrators? 59% had ninth grade or less. From over 1,000 files examined, only 7 had high school.
It seems then that we must use education to combat crime. But instead, we are using the police to criminalize education.
A number of parts of the press (click here and here to see some) today summarized the latest news from our University. Capitol employees (private security company) came by night to pull the gates of the YUPI.
And so, at first glance, we might think out the gates not bad ... I studied my doctorate at a university in the United States that did not have doors, but participated in a distinct aesthetic, where the campus merged with the city. The university helped guard patrolling the city, the guard came and went citadina if he pleased, and so on.
But what happened last night is very different. Timing is everything, American saying goes, and location location location, says one of the rules of real estate of the same ethnicity ...
What happened last night would be even picturesque, if it were not so sad and dangerous. Apparently it was a reaction to the fact that students in the Rio Piedras campus, gathered in assembly, decided to go on strike if the administration insists on imposing the fee.
(What you do not want a strike? Then please do not stop reading. Actually I think the vast majority of students "strikers" want it either. Nobody should a closure. Nobody. But this huge mess NO can be defined as a decision for or against the strike. Such "framing" dichotomous "anti-strike" and "pro-strike" [see something about using "framing" to break the tightening university here] fatal for understanding and collective action. This issue needs to be thought of as the matter is complex, and the resistance movement as the movement is complex with complex obstacles they face.)
We continue with the story. With the decision student, spent several interesting things. One is that in some precincts took a similar decision, but not in others. Another is that a group of teachers submitted a proposal entitled 'adding gain everyone', which has the following features: All university sectors sacrifice something (students pay a smaller fee, the teachers and employees disclaim an increase already agreed, trimmed additional expenses in the U) and the government reconsiders the decision, obviously wrong, of taking kids to the U they made Law 7, and returns funds. In other words, a group of teachers presented a proposal that although imperfect, like any other proposal is designed, well planned, and prepared with love and care. In fact, students were presented equally careful and worked, November 29, you can read by clicking here .
That is, students and teachers had submitted proposals that obviously intelligent people have invested time and effort. In other words, they had acted as university.
Meanwhile, the administration has done the following:
- Celebrate the legislature grants, knowing that the legislature is way behind in their payments to the existing legislative scholarship and renouncing actual fiduciary duty, which should be demanding that this money (35m) will be awarded to the University directly and used to reduce the total amount of the student fee controversial (40m).
- Ban protests skateboards and most spaces YUPI campus.
- Refusing to sit down and talk with students. To say that would remove strikers "kicking".
- Ignore the approach of teachers.
- Call Capitol Security, security firm led by the famous Chicky Starr, which apparently does not stop "chicky starr deal" even if changed careers, and get to starting gates. Chicky Starr hangs a notice on FaceBook where he seeks men willing to do work for 10 dollars an hour. And with the unemployment rate climbing to about 20%, no wonder you have achieved quickly volunteers.
- Make calls to "respect and tolerance", while increasing private security, develop new prohibitions, and evade the demands of dialogue.
- Getting a girl arrested for "aggression." How many cops arrested for kicks to the genitals, punched in the face, tasers, accidental kicks and lunges with pepper spray? Jum.
- Prepare for the worst. Ygrí has indicated that it intends to discuss, and if the University is closed, is closed. Certification is lost. The death hurts the century-old institution, perhaps the best investment you have made the country . And the Board of Trustees and the president? Well, thank you.
Any normal college administration, in cases like this, sit and talk with constituents, soon. Especially when there are two specific proposals, designed, academically responsible, which can be used as a starting point.
Why? Why management is supposed to ensure the interests of the UPR is on a course of action that clearly leads to confrontation and erosion of institutional quality, its relevance to the country, its ability to help to Puerto Rico?
The answer is complex, and I've written a bit about it here and here . But an important part of this lies in the moral question. I mean right now, the priority for administrators preferring loss throw the institution rather than recognize that they should sit down and negotiate with the sectors that compose it, is PUNISH. Not only because personally, may perhaps feel humiliated by a student movement that has shown more maturity and political skills that much more powerful "adults" they face, but because the punishment as a central role of the state tends to gain strength, Ironically, the more "liberal", or rather "neoliberal" is that state economically.
[Click here for a good read on the subject, Paul Treanor.]
Think of the protests in Seattle , or in Genoa. The police forces in both cases resulted frankly disproportionate. His goal, clearly, was to make a "show of force", intimidate, smash. It was not to protect the world leaders gathered there to discuss global business-it was to punish the grumblers furry, environmentalists, leftists of the world by ... daring to protest.
Part of the prefix "neo" of neoliberalism is precisely the issue we might call "moral". Neoliberalism is not simply an economic doctrine, but an intense desire, an ideology, a culture, a doctrine that wants to intensify and expand the market by increasing, eternal, systematic, both the number of commercial transactions and the amount of things that constitute "goods". And you need that for food, because it is, curiously, predicated on the idea that economies can and must "grow" forever. (Each time you cocked the bolus to the idea and the economy 'grows' we have a "crisis", and became public good or something we invent a new good-for example, privatize drinking water and ambulances, or create complex financial devices that caused the mortgage crisis and sell them around, causing the loss of homes and national bank failures.)
That is why governments like ours, who believe with all their might on the primacy not only economic but moral of the markets and hence the need for citizens to understand the consumption (and not freedom of speech, or the access to knowledge) as a fundamental right, so fiercely believe in the "law and order". When neoliberalism as an ideology grows, also grows forces dedicated to law and order, in fact, in extreme cases (see Chile, 1973-1990 ) constitute the main function of the state and not primarily engaged in the protection of the citizens but to the protection of markets. From THE market.
And it was in this ideological context in full spring, boys and girls strikers threw into the street, closed gates, dressed up, sang, danced, took cantazos, written legal arguments, created an independent press corps, published columns, made blogs, opened and maintained radio stations, planted orchards, and looked out of the Capitol in bunch to learn of the frames on the national budget, all in the name of preserving the (gulp) public higher education.
Of course this ADMINISTRATION vexed university who does not believe that "public" and that he does believe in the "law and order". But the claim of the country should be clear. Strike is not yes or no strike. It is proposed that teachers and students deserve serious partners, and the university deserves better treatment. Grappling they do not deserve "chicky starr".
Delivered on the occasion of engagement Pro Bono Students of the School of Law of the University of Puerto Rico, September 24, 2010. Thanks for the invitation, and much success to you all.
When I was invited to speak this evening, quickly said yes. I said yes because it is a beautiful project. But I confess that a few days ago, I almost regretted it. I wanted to write something that inspire, that can encourage them, but frankly, these are dark times, and all I could think to write was equally bleak.
In these was when I got the formal invitation. Reading it, I felt a little inspiring. Maybe it was the pictures. Faces. The implicit optimism. The action. But I think it was, especially what he says. He invites me to an activity of "Pro Bono Commitment", and says that "The Law School and UPR are inserted ProBono ... on the agenda of access to justice in Puerto Rico, as well as offer their students an formative legal education ... ".
Education training. Access to justice.
These phrases really liked them. My work group at UPR Mayaguez has a project that also works with access. In our case study access to certain levels or educational experiences. We study through academic research but actually understand and serve through a series of outreach activities with middle school boys and above living in public housing in Mayagüez. Why educational outreach in public housing? Well, because we had to start somewhere, because we are convinced that for learning to do, and because our preliminary studies showed that the so-called "villages" were extremely under-represented in higher education and higher education especially in public- in the UPR.
I want to make a story. The first activity was a camp range, designed by our college students and aimed at middle school students from several residential mayagüezanos. We started looking for funds. A colleague of mine, excited, spoke of an association of civic ladies exactly something I was looking in the area of pre-university education to sponsor. Our project was perfect for civic, he said. Not expect major problems.
Some days later, embarrassed, my colleague told me that the civic did not share our enthusiasm. They said no. They would not give us guys, because "these babies are not interested". With public school as such, clarified, had no problem, and they were receptive to proposals that population. The problem was with the residential with residential, with those spaces in our collective imagination have become, it seems, a metaphor for all that the country does not want to be.
This story, and especially the expression, that "these babies are not interested", I have been engraved., Have become a sort of "myth of origin". It was, I clarify a particularly important episode, in tangible terms, materials, after all, the activities for which they were soliciting funds were held equal, were carried out with these babies, and even extended the thing and got the generous sponsorship of the Family Foundation, for five years. But the story is important, because it is not an isolated incident or a particular bias to this civic group: we have seen repeated and manifest in other ways. For example, a year later, we were making observations in one of the many Puerto Rican schools have fallen into what is called euphemistically "improvement plan". The little school population is all residential addresses or spaces we call "neighborhoods" in Mayagüez. With that word, "neighborhood" we saved the longest and most complex allusion to "urban neighborhoods that are not public housing or are designated as parcels but they are very, very poor." Anyway, we were in school, and a teacher , a young woman, obviously working, kind-hearted, he told us of the many academic difficulties were his students, and asked what was, in his view, the main problem, the root of the matter. The teacher sighed, pointed to a cluster of buildings, visible from the school, with that distinctive architecture buildings of three floors of cement, with a court in the middle, and a guard house, empty, entrance ...
He said: "Those people." [Pause] "These people do not ... do not want progress."
In Puerto Rico, and other parts of the world, people occupy spaces that serve and have served historically to mark, stereotype, define people as more or less virtuous, more or less deserving, more or less vague ... Think in the suburbs, plots, residential. In the Puerto Rican collective imaginary, residential, residential, the village, perhaps the visible of its architecture, is particularly subject to that otherness imposed and sometimes defiantly, also assumed. This is an otherness that forces us to find inequality, marginalization, day by day. But these are not the only places where the encounter occurs. There are other spaces, more mobile, more dynamic, such as the lights where they ask the homeless coins, which also represent the possibility that daily encounter with poverty, with marginality. And those games have much to say about how we conceptualize the other ... and ourselves.
Imagine for example the classic encounter: You go out there to guide, stops at the red light, and there it is: the homeless, the junkie, "who asks". (Almost never hear that call the beggar, and the beggar. Always the homeless, the junkie, "who asks".) It is easy to imagine that if you drive a car, that is part of everyday life. It is usually a familiar, tends to be in the light at that time of day, go with a glass or other container. The interesting thing about this meeting is that despite being so common, and so predictable, daily generates a small moral crisis. A crisis is not in it, which is there, with his glass, systematically working the line of cars, no: The mini-moral crisis is generated in the conductor. In the potential donor. Especially with passengers. Let's say it's you.
I give you guys. I do not give guys. If I give you guys are going to spend on drugs. I can give you this apple or this coffee, I was driving to work, the better. Send food. I gave you guys yesterday ... maybe today I can provide you with a sad face indicating, truthfully or not, I have no kids. Or look stubbornly to the front, as if to see, talk louder on my cell phone, I know that is looking and gesturing in my direction. Or move the head firmly, in a gesture of NO ...
That is the internal conversation. If we carry passengers, the crisis is beyond the scope of private morality becomes a matter of social projection:
I give you guys. I do not give guys. What will you think if you give kids Fulana? I'm a drone. What will I think if you do not? I'm a pot.
Let's say that this time, decided to give a few coins. The junkie moves on, but:
Fulana, archly: I never give them kids, because that use it for drugs. I give them food, if I'm near a servicarro. I could have given that apple.
If you think you'll give the solution to the dilemma here, now, sorry to disappoint. I'm afraid there is no solution, at least not in the terms in which we face. I, frankly, I've done it all: look for the front, to kids, to apple, buy servicarro, talking on cell phones while trying not intensely sad eyes meet than it takes the cup ... everything. And it probably does not make much difference. You can do it for me, if I take a grateful smile, or for it, if it is a quarter, a difference in the micro, on that day, at that moment, but whatever you choose to do, at that meeting, will not make a dent to macro or morals, or self. The basic fact that there is a marginal people to productive processes that needs your love to eat anything. Or to get drugs. Or both-Because in the end, in the daily experience of the addict, drug and food are very different substances. Both are perceived in subjectivity, as inevitably necessary for survival.
But the point is that we have a moral crisis and identataria small, every time. And that crisis is based on the fact that the other, the misfit who is our partner in this encounter with deep inequality we live in, does something or is something that seems morally distasteful. Drug used, for example. And we care about sponsoring this vice. No not going to hurt him, that the drug, if used, is going to get with or without your help. No - I do not mind giving him or rather by what it implies about me, about who I am. And that is the daily dilemma. We want to do good, but do not want our well-used wrong. We want to give the penny, but we want to use it to eat.
We want to control the other's reaction. We want the poor, who receive our generosity, is as we want it to be. We want, in this case, clean of drugs.
And grateful. We pasmamos when the other does not respond as expected. Let me share another experience. It was here, in Rio Piedras, and is a bit silly but irrelevant. A homeless person asked me for money to buy a s undae. I decided to buy a sundae. I bought the sundae. I took it. The man snorted, disappointed, annoyed. And I said, rather irritated, he did not like peanuts.
I want to like peanuts. In fact, I would have preferred not to mind the presence of peanuts, or who have been so grateful for the sundae that was fixed in peanuts ...
Our meetings are sour when the other, defined as "poor", "marginal" or needy, do not respond as we would like, or as expected. The junkie pulls the guys tight to the floor and was angered that does not like peanuts. The mother of two young children but does not pay the light nails done. The lady of seventy to 15,000 light and ask for a payment plan, 85 years. And do not pay. The baby talk in the classroom and, when called upon to read the book and complete the task, says he does not want, it's boring. Shows no interest.
These meetings did not bother us much because we confronted with poverty, but because it forces us to question the ways in which poverty imagine, how they meet, if we look, whether it be addressed ... We want the poor to starve, not wanting drugs, or a cell phone. We want you to be grateful. That shows interest. Let there be no nails or hair. They behave, in short, with admirable rationality.
(A few months ago, talking about rationality, a poor girl from Vieques commit an irrational act: walk with a bag of marijuana. Was caught. Guys I had to pay the fine, so I put her prey. In prison he smoked a cigarette marijuana. He extended his sentence. died prey, a beating by other inmates. was called Vivian, and was young, very thin. newspaper The photos show her smiling, with a beautiful smile and big. Some of the comments accuse newspaper, posthumously, of irrationality. because, they said, who do you think of get to smoke in jail?'s the same kind of irrationality of accusing often the women murdered by their partners when they ask, also posthumously, how that girl happened to meet with such a person?)
And it seems that socially, we require the victims of injustice and oppression qualities that we require larger players. We require victims things like sanity, rationality, cleaning, gratitude, educational and intellectual interest, reasonable handling of their meager finances, good nutritional choices and sentimental. We demand that they take responsibility for their lives.
This requirement, that question, that question, always aimed at marginalized. Speak critically of his "lack of interest", the importance of "those people" to develop social responsibility ... The interesting thing is that they rarely question headed claim interest and social responsibility to the institutions.
Read how that institutions? Take for example the issue of the lack of "interest" academic youngsters blamed on the residential. In the three years of the project, we have found that this population is not much talk, at school, college or university. We have seen academic counselors literally get out of hand to a young University application, because "you deserve it". We have seen schools in financial trouble, eliminating or lowering the class size called "advanced" Spanish, math and English. We have seen schools that simply do not have those classes. To begin with, assume that the population does not qualify. We have heard of schools that provide much guidance on drugs and responsible parenthood but few or no about college. In Puerto Rican school children have to take compulsorily calls "Puerto Rican evidence" on a school day, but the entrance examination to college, the college board, there has been so only once. Usually it's Saturday, it costs forty dollars to take it, and the boys often do not learn they need to apply to college because nobody tells them ... poverty spaces should receive not less but more information on careers, universities possibilities. And yet, our boys show an ignorance of academic offerings, and their own potential, it's scary ... Can he develop "interest" without having access to information that gives content and form to that interest? Was it just the claim of the civic? Was it right for? Perhaps the most important question: Was this helpful?
If we make the complaint to the school would also have to let them, frankly, to college. In Mayagüez, say students, teachers, t-shirts and bumper stickers that "only drives can". They also say things like "many enter, few graduate." That statement is terribly problematic. First, because in relative terms, it is not true - the College has the highest graduation rates in Puerto Rico. Second, it makes no sense that our institutional culture is collegial proud of something like that.
We want the poor, the oppressed and the marginal are rational. But is it not deeply irrational justice system imprisons a girl of twenty years because it was with a little marijuana, thus exposing the violence of the prison? What a group of wealthy ladies accuses a group of poor children who do not know, of "selflessness"? What a school to educate your children the possibility of fatherhood but not for the possibility of the university? What college celebrate the fact that many be disenrolled, I assume as evidence of excellence? There is in any case would have to redirect that accusation of "disinterest" of the civic ...
But the point is precisely that the solution is not to blame. I think part of the problem in our daily struggle with this issue of access (to justice, education, peace, food, medical services) is cultural: We do not like the victim riposte us or we complicate . We, for example, poverty, marginalization, silent, grateful, barefoot. That does not answer except to say thanks. To request reasonable things. Let us make the task easier.
We must reconceptualize the task. Should be reconceptualized the meeting., I can, as an individual, if I want and makes me happy, follow enchismándome with my friend if he keeps chavando junkie with peanuts. At the end of the day it is up to us. But that's not the task that you celebrate today. Today we celebrate a task that requires another type of encounter.
Today we celebrate the commitment to pro bono. And pro bono is actually an abbreviation, and does not mean "free", but typically is. You mean it's work on the public good, the common good. It means that you are not going to settle for the moral dilemma of meeting bobo light, you will "be inserted into an agenda of access to justice." They will be a claim themselves and the institutions they represent and which may one day help us to reform. Openly, transparently, to be wrapped in a relationship with another, not from a place of superiority, identity, or charity, but from a place of learning, understanding, and action. And in the process, will be practicing other forms of encounter, ways that allow us to rethink the ways in which structurally and hamper today violate human possibilities, and learn, use and produce knowledge that will allow humans to rescue their chances. That's Pro-bono.
I want to congratulate you for committing. Because removing or keeping the two pesetas in the light, or criticizing the kids do not learn, we will not change the world but working for the common good and the reconceptualization of a daily meeting that recognizes the other as part of the destiny of oneself, the country, and the species, then yes we can change something. Thank you very much.Print
Conceptually, it makes sense to implement austerity measures at the University of Puerto Rico. After all, the country is in an economic crisis, and the destiny of the country and its university are bound in the most intimate of relationships: survive, succeed or sink together.
But in practice, things change a bit. Because not all measures are equal, or affect everyone equally. And there are some steps to deal with the crisis that threaten the very identity of the University. That the distanced the country.
Take for example those that have to do with the number of students planning to attend college. No talking, officially, much of it: But there are signs, and not good. The Board of Trustees has repeatedly said it expects to raise 40 million of the increase in enrollment is called "special assessment". At 800 pesos per head, that estimate assumes 50,000 students enrolled in the system.
Only 50,000. The last time that the UPR had that number of students was in the seventies. Now serving around 65,000: one in three college students on the island.
The distance that generate new employment policy between the institution and the country is compounded when we consider the profile of those fifteen thousand current and prospective students who would remain unattended. Admission rates (IGS) which constitute the sole criterion for admission to most of our programs, increase, on average, with increasing household income students. This means that although there are students with all types of IGS in all our social sectors, there is a tendency for the ISM (and therefore the probability of being admitted) increase with increasing socioeconomic status. This bias is not a reflection of academic potential but systematic disadvantages that affect some sectors more than others over time.
The IGS, meanwhile, is largely a function of the quota in a given program. The more popular a baccalaureate program, and more people apply for admission to him, becomes the highest IGS. What are the most popular of the system? To mention a few: All engineering, Biology and Pre-Medical, Accounting.
Súmele, occupying the low estimate, the practices implemented in this registration process, and the picture gets worse. The measures implemented in various venues, involving a smaller supply of available classes to enroll. For a student depends on the Pell grant to study, not to enroll their minimum requirement of twelve credits is more than just a barrier: It may be the end of his studies at the UPR.
Some speak of a University "smaller, more agile". I think part of the "agility" of the public university must lie precisely in its capacity to serve diverse sectors and geographies. The fiscal problem at the University must not, can not be treated as a giant spreadsheet. Efficiency can not occur in a moral vacuum. The decisions we make to cut expenses can solve a mathematical problem but exacerbate budget-economic problems of the country.
Close allotments and sections to "save" costs involved and close opportunities for many future engineers, doctors and accountants in college in the country, and set the conditions for a less diverse student body, more homogeneous socioeconomically.
Can the country, and its University, Afford It?
A few days ago, during the campus protest at the Botanical Garden, Governor Fortuño, somewhat disgusted, described the scene as one worthy of "a banana republic in revolution." In that time, I thought it was a exhibitionist act of ignorance on their part, a revelation of his ignorance of history, a mistake.
Today I think it was a slip, a confession, perhaps untimely articulation of his vision for the country.
According to wikipedia, the Banana Republic has three main characteristics: political instability, limited reliance on agricultural products and a corrupt clique in government ricachona.
Two out of three, I guess. Missing bananas.
My first contact with the idea of "banana republic" was in my teens, when I read the saga of the Buendia and his solitude, so masterfully narrated by Garcia Marquez. So the first thing I knew, or thought, of the "banana republics", is that they are indiscriminate violence unleashed a corrupt state on an impoverished population protesting.
And indeed, the Fortuño administration has brought us as close to the image I've seen in Puerto Rico.
In banana republics, that state violence acts in the interests of corporate and / or a few powerful families. The most famous example, historically, is the Colombian slaughter of 1928, which killed an unknown number of strikers. The strikers want higher wages. The soldiers wanted to protect the interests of Chiquita Banana.
What interests would be protected today enchalecados Puerto Ricans, who butted helmeted enmacanados and unarmed people on the steps of the Capitol? We know that part of ARRA funds that refused to college were passed swiftly to the department of Education and converted there, in that prodigious legislative alchemy in earmarks for things like libraries and Cuchín Rosello ... We also know that bring something to make kids putting his hand to (un) protected karst .... We know you do not like public University, the Institute of Culture, the State Bar, ecological corridors, collective ownership of potentially lucrative locations such as Cano ... We believe that public services should be run by private hands as possible, up to the "public service" to dispose of public servants ... We know they are males machazos male and that if a senator protest and quacks tell if the press looks the bounce. We know you love the barrels.
We know that the governor thinks the university is an expense, and such a finding is consistent with Asquith she has for banana republic that he has had to govern, and in higher education which, perhaps think, not worth investing Best surround ... soldiers.
We, especially, now lawmakers have on their agenda so perhaps the biggest decision should be public and transparent: the budget of Puerto Rico and its distribution. It reflected, in principle, their vision of the country, the promises that brought them to power, the government program ...
But not to be there to know what the program that, I guess. Already told us the big boss, untimely, a few weeks ago. The banana republic disgusts him, but it's true vision, a vision shared by the legislature.
We only missing the bananas.Print
Another student assembly, this time nationally. Again, as is typical of this movement, a model of order and participatory democracy. A fitting end to what has been what might be called the spring Boricua, a defense of public higher education mature, democratic, flexible, and innovative. A movement like the game (media, dances, songs, improvisational theater) but not of superficiality.
And while young people celebrating, what adults do?
Well, adults who are in charge of leading the destinies of the country were involved in that legislation down mode "download" to them has become so prevalent. While the minority were required to belt out a discussion of the measure, which seeks to increase the number of trustees of the governing board of the UPR , most penepé the Senate passed the bill, authored by Arango, and passed quickly to the House.
Suspiremos. What a contrast. Because if something this country learned the student movement, is the importance of allowing discussion and study of complex issues. Do not allow democratic mechanisms (such as voting) become mechanisms to subvert democracy (such as absentee voting group discussion and analysis.) (More on that topic in recent entries EFT and Hiram Meléndez Juarbe ).
In an effort to NOT look for the five legs the cat, our illustrious legislators leave the cat without legs. No whiskers. Without head. The legislation passed in a hurry, buggy, not rooted in solid research but on the prejudices of their authors, and their readers. Sometimes the pass only to find, as recently happened to Senator and Attorney Rashke of women , which already existed. It is the quick fix mentality that wants to resolve the matter quickly, the Marroneo to change the rules to achieve the goal, the kid who takes the bat and the ball when lost. The mentality of laziness that aims to produce measures without studying the issues, which thinks that democracy exists in terms of law and order and not vice versa, and thus also passes legislation to apply to the country Tito weight Kayaks of a "serious crime" if protests stop with cement planting .
This showing that the country lacked a university not smaller, as would ¥ Gri, but in any case more college, more education, more depth. Having more complicated conceptual / intellectual (welcome it, because the world is complicated) and less bureaucratic complication, as we believe the legislature with shoddy laws piled on top of each other, contrariándose, repeating.
He removed a desire to write. But impossible to go to sleep without referring, hopeful, once again, to the thousands of authors from the spring Puerto Rican, and desire, still alive, seriously, functional, to college, inside and outside the classroom.
It is increasingly evident that "these people", and I mean the merry group composed of the president of the Board of Trustees, President of the University, the Governor Fortuño, and the ghosts of all who whisper (orders? requests?? any ideas? dreams?) ear, these people prefer the university closed. Do not know how else to call them. Refer to them as "administration" memory spot and action of those academic managers who care (ba) the institution and what it means. Refer to them as "the government" obscures the fact that the sinister forces that handle and respond which are tucked everywhere and channeled through many bodies, including university bodies. The call at the moment, "these people".
Well, these people do not want to open. We have taken the college gustito closed. Unusual, but more and more obvious. The advertising campaign aims supposedly "open the gates" (ahhhh, metaphors) seems rather designed to antagonize and blame the student movement with supposedly being negotiated (these people prefer, appropriately, the term "dialogue") and college so conveniently keep closed. Negotiate reluctantly, emplaced at his table, go on vacation in full case, lose the table, we gossip to the press ...
How do we reach a state of affairs where the strike is not pressed? A state of affairs, he said, where THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO OPEN OFFICER?
[The implications of this in terms of strategy have been recently discussed with clarity and empathy for the student Mariana Iriarte on your blog. To read click here. ]
I do not know. Some would argue that these people always been so, and that simply has been seeing them more sewing lately. Ideologies, government programs, historical global currents, and personality disorders of the above make this incomprehensible attitude inevitable. Others argue that we read too much into the actions of a people, these people, which has been characterized by arbitrariness and improvisation in action, by the incompetence in planning for the awkwardness in execution. Perhaps they are both. Perhaps no.
This morning, under the influence of coffee pretty good, seems to me to imagine THESE PEOPLE on the couch of a psychologist / a setentoso just begun in the now popular and populous progression of Kubler-Ross. 's famous stages of grief management / grief / crisis.
Stage 1: Denial.
Students are rampaging, say they suspect us. They say they will go on strike. Bah. I do not think so. This will pass.
Stage 2: Anger, Anger.
What do they think these young beardless? Better said, these young hairy? How dare you defy me, that when I came they would, to me, that I am the authority? Call yourself to the police and see if after a couple of brave batons are well. Do not miss them food, to see, to stop thinking they are the che ... take the taser, just in case. And Montales a media campaign that demonizes really cool, to see if it is a crowd of graduates and opens the gate to the CAÑONA ...
Stage 3: Negotiation.
Well, okay, let's sit down. A dialogue. We sat, talking, not pretend that actually give in on anything, but we sat every day, and we discussed the points, adjectives, commas, and if enough dialogue with them may feel taken care of and get out of the gates ... Moreover, we will call the bishop, to see if you want to sit down and talk with them as well ... a little religion never hurts ...
Stage 4: Depression.
Bah. Not worth it. These are very stubborn Pelus. What about the silent majority, where is it? How many more meetings I have to sponsor? There are resigned to "talk" alone have the nerve to expect "concrete results" and to be treated as adults. I'm going to depress / go on holiday / sit here with zombie face. Could it be that this strike is going to last forever?
Stage 5: Acceptance.
Well, if it lasts forever, what? Maybe it's even better ... do not pay salaries or operational costs, we save the chavitos we were going to raise with the unfortunate video lottery this ... While the vegetation takes hold of the enclosures, and these Pelus leave, exhausted, we can change the university completely!! It's big, expensive, gets every bum ... Cerradita, while rethink. Smaller, agile, efficient. Relax, guys. Everything will bie n. New University Act coming right up ... So, if approved next week in the legislature's budget for 2010-2011.
So far the students have proven to be a step forward. Do not think they'll dance the dance , as indicated Iriarte on your blog. As for the guns, I recommend returning to the couch. I run out of coffee. We read later.Print
Every day I hear the sentence to students. Sometimes it's a fierce condemnation, as the former Governor Romero Barceló , yesterday, panting, called them "manganzones", and accused of spending the Pell grant in alcohol (!), cigarettes and even cocaine. Or that of Rivera Schatz, who to respond to the previous decides to return to the discourse of "tiny splinter group" that has "support the people." A fierce convictions could respondérseles, and they respond with things like that would not give Pell although coca use it, that the kids are used to books and food, and that the true manganzones are former political refuse to limit their infamy to the historical memory of the people and insist on its own relevance. Or with the politicians of this should 1) meet their promises to monitor abusive policemen and 2) learn to count right, because the "small group" continues to constitute a quorum and ratifying the strike that managers themselves legitimate convening a meeting after another, in the unsuccessful search for the mythical "silent majority".
Sometimes the sentence is rather disconcerting, as when, seeing macaneados, accuse them of having sought the Beatings at issue "causing" anger (police? Did God? Private property?) Because mocked, or because he "crossed the line", or because "keep asking", or because they do not protest "at the appropriate times and places", or their long hairs, or their "fresquerías" ... Or because, as the friend and Rolon Lissette colleague in one of the fables that builds on the strike, dared sit "at the same table with the government forever, as co-owners of a public good ..." The "line" that offend boys across is almost always literal geographical space: Some people would like to see (or rather, not see) to students in some corner apiñaditos irrelevant, protesting quietly without disturbing. Those who think equate democracy with invisibility or discretion of dissent.
Sometimes the sentence is (compared to the two previous varieties) almost gentle, caressing, as when his colleagues and our strikers urging you to get out of the gates, in a hurry, please, so that others might come to class / take classes / do research / graduate. Here the problem is not the claim (the university, all tend to believe in an open university, collectively, usable, so that the claim has its justice), but who is making this claim: Why not we say that same to the Trustees and administrators? What certification repeal conflicting clarify the issue of rising tuition ghostly, remove the sanctions and leave us open the precincts of a good time? What enable dialogue structures are abducted: non-called senates, non-called college board? How about asking them to defend the students receiving scholarships, hairy or hairless, inside or outside the gates, of the crazy accusations Romero?
A time machine, you and I are the customers, someone (Rodríguez Ema?) Smiles, mumbles something, we connect the necessary cables, and emerge the device stuck in a strange anachronism: a country where we apply a "medicine bitter "globally discredited in the nineties, where also looks ugly big head, equally discredited, of a political strategy of oppression, police carpeteo and excess, we thought surpassed, where past governors emerge, stained zombies blood of wonder, to insult students, emissaries of a possible future. Where University Law unexpectedly quit and instead settle for nothing less than the McConnell-Valdes , architects apepé fortuñismo and formal and informal.
And what do the boys and girls of the University with all these sentences? Most of them the answer with serenity , and still working.
Rushdie has a novel, Shame, where a character becomes furry (hairy) because it carries within itself all the shame (well, "shame" is one of those beautiful words that means many things, including shame and guilt) of who do not have or assume any. Perhaps called "Pelus" the gates bear the shame, with dignity, responsibility, the collective. Enough of sentences: We must lead the university claim to where it should go.
On April 29, students are self Mayagüez and conducted a more ordered assemblies I've seen in my life. The order itself was especially surprising because of the difficulty of the final decision: a strike. Despite the administrative ban unauthorized meetings , despite the complexity of the matter, though, the debate of ideas prevailed. There were shifts, were heard, discussed, voted. That day started the occupation of the gates. That day the boys and girls, against all odds, he dealt a blow to the violation of freedom of association.
On May 3, in a referendum sponsored by management, generated a strike vote. Again, against all prediction. Another blow, this time to machacadísimo concept of "silent majority", with which the administration had to continue to ignore the claims of transparency and accessibility.
Today, May 24, they've done it again. Against all prediction, a pitched battle against the media, against the cacophony of the speakers that were in the assembly urging them to say no to the strike (and drugs, as if the two were the same thing), fatulas threats against administrators undercover "militancy" among worried parents who gathered outside, the heat and thirst product of nine hours of waiting in the hot tar of a parking , against the entry raid against the nonsense, misinformation, and the alarm ... They won. Overwhelmingly.
I tell students that they also doubted. That upon arrival tumbacocos listen, be besieged by parents handing flyers, and hear expressions of repudiation to strike, they thought that was the extent the wave of election victories. I wonder what happened, that changed. They tell me that maybe it was the succession of points for and points against, the debate of ideas, exchange of positions. The antipathy against which the gates said that what he had was "fresquerías". Sympathy for the one who said he also graduated, but .... had to preserve public university. Today won collectivism, the stamina, and the political maturity of a student who obviously have more bargaining power than their counterparts in the Board of Trustees, who give a battle at the negotiating table, and quite another in means.
Again, today, lucidity, spring, democracy. And I, although tiredness and nail comedera all awkwardly wordy so I feel fortunate to live it up close.
Students: My compliments. Three times airy.
To the trustees of the UPR: His constituents (because they are, should not be seen as opponents, but as college) deserve more respect. The university community wants you to negotiate, front and truth.
In his budget address a few weeks ag or governor Fortuño Referred to public, affordable higher education as a "privilege" that Puerto Rico Provides to its students at no small cost to its Citizens. To Reinforce the message, tuition prices have UPR Compared to the much higher ones of other, private, higher education institutions in the island, and of colleges and universities in the United States.
In an "us vs. them" move seemingly designed to conceptually place responsible tax payers against protesting students, I Stated That "tuition paid by students, When They do pay, is but to about 3% of the university's budget ... the Rest is paid by us Taxpayers. Which is why our people, just and noble yes, But Also democratic and respectful of law and order, get upset When They see what info we have all seen in the University These past two days. "As the strike grew bigger and more complicated, Involving today all of the 11 campuses, a number of public and private Citizens have echoed the governor's overall message, portraying the students as selfish, privileged, disorderly, and "ideologically" driven. As I write this column, the president of the UPR's Board of Regents is Stating, on the radio, That the striking students are "breaking down the institution".
At the heart of this image is the notion That the university is too inexpensive for the single students and too expensive for the state, rendering Malthus student complaints about the elimination of tuition waivers, and Their insistence That tuition rates stay low, as shallow. I propose we examine this notion. Is the university really "too cheap"? Is it a "cost" to the state? "Cheap" and "expensive" are relative terms, and They Arise From Comparing the costs of the UPR With Other Institutions. However, is the comparison with private institutions in the island, and with public and private universities in the U.S., an Appropriate comparison?
Private institutions in the island have Helped the country meet an Increasing demand for higher education degrees but in terms of efficiency and value, economic studies Have Shown That the University of Puerto Rico, with double the graduation rate and producing 95% of the island's research output , dealer to the best return on investment for public funds.
Universities across the United States, a country traditionally Known for its excellence in higher education, are experiencing problems That the states are concerned With. Two (related) ones are 1) access issues faced by minorities and l ow-income students and 2) the production of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) degrees. Access problems are in great part due to Increasing tuition costs Precisely in 4 year colleges and universities. STEM degrees hover around 20% of U.S. degrees, at a time When the country desperately needs to Increase the domestic STEM workforce. Mainland universities have an average of only 14% of Their student body qualifying for need-based Pell Grants. A number of Efforts in the United States, treats including the intensive use of federal ARRA funds, are directed at Increasing the number of underrepresented students and of STEM degrees.
In contrast, at the University of Puerto Rico, 40% of the degrees are STEM, and two-Thirds of its student body qualifies for need-based aid. The UPR today produces 16% of the Hispanic STEM workforce in the U.S.. Historically, the people of Puerto Rico have Their public university viewed not as a cost or as a burden but as an investment-the kind of investment Most needed in times of economic crisis.
The governor is fond of the "family" metaphor. Often I compare Puerto Rico and its current financial crisis, with a Family That needs to make hard choices to face periods of economic crisis, and wonders out loud why the UPR acerca can not seem to Be Able to "tighten its belt" like so many families have done around the island. But even Within the metaphor, choosing to take resources away from the public university in times of financial crisis, would be akin to taking away children's educational opportunities. Few families would agree with this choice.
The constitution of Puerto Rico (section 5, article 2) Provides for a free public education system covering grades 1 through 12. This was in 1952, When a high school diploma Brought to Un certain amount of prestige and a number of job opportunities. It Could easily be Argued That what the high school diploma meant for the fifties, the college degree means for today.
Affordable, public higher education can not be seen as cost or expense, but as value. It is one of Those Things where Puerto Rico consistently "does it better." It is one of the best investments info we have made as a collectivity, as a society. Let us protect it.
One of the most common accusations toward students in all UPR campuses occupy the college gates in what has become a historic strike, is "ideological". It's an accusation I hear on the radio and read on the internet every day. By "ideology", which imply that the strikers accuse are guided by a breakaway type motivation, and that is that the "real" agenda.
I'm not "defending" students here that accusation. That is to fall into the logic of accusing. Today I come to raise the ideologies that the "other side", the government authorities and university sample. Of those who oppose the strike and repudiate the student behavior as "ideological", paying no attention to the biblical, big, super-ideological beam in our own eye.
Let us start with the Board of Trustees. Without going into historical considerations on training, it is a body whose function is to protect the interests of the public university. The Regulations of the University of Puerto Rico and the website of the same Junt to define it as follows:
"The Board of Trustees is the governing board of the University of Puerto Rico and the Agency in which the People of Puerto Rico has delegated the authority to direct, guide, regulate and govern the University System. In exercising these powers, and on behalf of co public interest, the Board must ensure that the University meets the needs of society puertorriqueñ to and constitute an essential element in the effort to provide solutions to the problems that confront our people . The Board should encourage the development of the talents and resources of the University to make real the fundamental values of our society ... "[Emphasis mine. To read the rules click here ]
The Board is thus the trustee, or guardian, of the country's interests relating to the functions of the university. Must represent the public interest. How has it been performing that role lately? Consider:
- He accepted, without question, the alteration of the formula based budget allocation for the UPR that generated most of the vaunted deficit. Instead of trying to prevent the original deficit, accept it as a fact and passes the bill, the recipe for the "bitter medicine" to the institution that claims to protect.
- Before the student rebellion, sit to "negotiate". As part of the negotiation, offer merit eliminate those exemptions that are granted to students who, for socio-economic disadvantage, qualify for Pell Grant. That is, in fact education recommend book FREE for those who do NOT have financial need.
- At the insistence student democratically expressed in various ways, including assemblies strongly suggested by the shareholders and carried out with debate and quorate, offended, and pass not only police presence but the indefinite closure of the university.
In 2008-9 (click here for the report) exemptions were granted 22,508, averaging $ 671, for a total of $ 15.1M, so that saving for college is on the order of 67% of $ 15.1M (proportion of students from the UPR receiving Pell grant) or $ 10.1M.
Say that the proposal of the Board of the UPR would save ten million. Repeatedly, university administration representatives have indicated that the closure results in losses equivalent to one million daily. This just in Rio Piedras and only to the University, not counting additional costs, such as state police to "watch" the boys. So you just to save ten million per year, are prepared to lose at least sixty? Why the obsession with those ten million when economic failure projected budget for next year is 134 million, according to the OMB? What surprises we have the board for the other 124 million missing?
The only explanation for the behavior of the Board is to have abandoned their role as custodians of academic heritage, the cultural capital of the country, and even the much vaunted fiscal health of the UPR, to become an ideological spokesmen, as ideological , or more, as the boys a couple of days ago cheerfully changed flag by the monoestrellada freckled. The ideology of bitter medicine , the shock and awe , the forces take public investment. The ideology of every man for himself, for the world is capital and knowledge is not a priority for the state. The ideology that has cost both Latin America and the world. As said Galeano : At times like this, when this our suffering Latin America, with the rest of the world, the disastrous consequences of the collapse of the greed of unbridled, today more than ever, we can not afford to turn our backs on our students.
Of course the striking students have ideological motivations. Represent belief in public investment, especially in public education, represent the idea that the university accessible is important for the quality of life of the people, they represent hope for an existence in you can get not only quality of life but by having knowledge.
A few days ago, the analyst Ignacio Rivera statesman remembered the words of a U.S. military about Vietnam: It was necessary to destroy the village in order to save . McNamara would perhaps say that destruction is, in the fog that is generated by the war, ideological Northern temporary loss of reason first. Here we could argue that the obsession that the Board demonstrates the issue of exemptions (even at the cost of sixty million) represents the temporary loss of Northern Trust mission in the mist created by the current conflict.
But fear not. I fear more than the loss of ideological north, which should be consistent with the mission of the Board, what we are witnessing here is the revelation of the ideologies that truly guide the actions of senior management academic today. Ideologies are described Klein Shock Doctrine, which have guided the economic transformation of countries as diverse as Chile and Poland, whose only northern extreme liberalization of markets and the destruction of public investment in matters that do not generate capital in the short term. In that framework, the private university is what makes sense, and the public is a burden, a cost to be cheaper for the state and expensive for individuals. In that framework, the state is reduced across social investment, but is grown in its role as administrator of the iron fist. The Board does not want to negotiate with the strikers: want to tame them, teach them a lesson. Fortunately, the country does not agree.
If we're going to worry about the "ideologies" of the main actors of this strike, I suggest that we look for a change in management, and stop time aside for "Pelus".
The governor's message, especially the section on the UPR, was outrageous. Nefasto. And cash.
And by "cash" does not mean you're right or speaks the truth. In fact there are several moments that exemplify great use slippery, fragmented, often given to the truth in this kind of political message, regardless of the sides, the colors, or the historical occasion. As he spoke of the "fixed percentage" representing the University budget but forgot to clarify that the basis on which to calculate this percentage was altered as part of approved content in the almighty Law 7.
But I come to speak of the half truths but the effectiveness of the message. By "effective" I mean that probably does the trick. Mission which, incidentally, has nothing to do with convince me. Neither me or the many others who live in love and in love with the concept, space, idea, metaphor, institution and cultural project is the University of Puerto Rico . No. In fact, one of the things that makes that section of the message effectively is just that-that input, the governor is speaking NO. He has chosen not to. We "lost strip", do not try to convince, and convert this exile (we are not part of the act but viewers communicator thereof) on the part of the communication strategy.
And this is not a particularly original discursive move, or new. It's a classic conservative political communicators in the United States. Lakoff and other linguists call "framing" , and it is a form of political communication studied, tested, and in the development of which has invested a lot of money.
It is important to remember that "framing" has the literal meaning of framing (what we do to photos and paintings) but also the most metaphorical frame (what we do to people when we look bad, or falsely guilty .)
The framing works like this: Every word is tied to a conceptual framework, which are more or less aware. An example that provides Lackoff Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor accepting, and saying "when the people win, the politics (as usual politics) loses." What does that? Achieves framed himself the winner, as the result of the people's choice and the embodiment of that victory, yaa the Democratic legislature as "politics as usual" and early loser. All this in advance, anticipating the debate.
Another example that uses Lackoff: the phrase "tax relief" ("tax relief"). This part not so much the "relief" as to contributions - if there is "relief" this means that contributions are a "disease", a "disease" which must be alleviated. Similarly, U.S. conservatives have taken over things like "values", "life", "family" and even of "freedom".
So what does all this with the message of today and with the university? Fortuño Here's speech:
"As we have said in the past, stabilize our finances and rebuild the economy of Puerto Rico is shared task of ALL our people ... That's why our people do not understand why, if we all had to adjust the pants in the past years , the University of Puerto Rico could not do the same. "
To begin with, there is a framing - a dichotomy between YOUR UNIVERSITY VILLAGE-placed and suddenly, thanks to language, on opposite sides. It is not the UNIVERSITY OF PEOPLE, but a distant university of the people, and their sacrifices. The UPR is framed from the start as a foreign entity, elitist, alienated and conceited.
And so unfolds the rest of that chapter of the message: On the one hand, the state university, represented by beings Fortuño's narrative, they refuse to acknowledge their privilege and "adjust your pants." On the other hand, all the rest of the country. As it does here,
"I mean, that tuition paying students from UPR covers only 3% of the budget of the University ... the rest is paid U.S. TAXPAYERS. That's why our people-which is a just and noble people, but it is also a town of law and order that believes in democracy-is annoying when you see and hear what we have all witnessed in the University in the past days. "
when a party puts taxpayers (aka "the people", and just in April when we still hurts the pocket), to law and order, and the other part to the striking students (and by extension non-law and disorder.) and leverages the linguistic alliance to launch the not-so-veiled threat:
"Respect for the principle of university autonomy requires us to be cautious and not intervene until we require the university authorities. But university officials tell them we are here, ready and willing to provide the help that you deem necessary, if you so choose, to protect the rights of ALL students .... etc etc.. "
Here are several "frames" additional character actors in the drama linguistic between "them" of the university and the "we" of working people and unemployed: from outside government authorities, the "law and order" that has declared absent, expect the invitation of the university authorities, "framed" as ineffective. Paternal, but of course in the role of "stern father" that both the Conservatives like this cut, college tells what to do, and wait. Wait to apply the "zero tolerance", the "tough", "law and order".
So flexible is the language and how effective the "framing", which any citizen could forget, for the moment, the absurdity of a scenario where the "bad" students are told UNIVERSITY WITH NO MESS, and "good" are the governor, the legislature, the police, the impact force, private universities, students quierem not stop those who do not know if they want to stop or not, citizens who work and pay taxes, those who do not pay taxes because longer work because threw, Law 7 that bounced, the university administration ...
The challenge is clear. We must remind the country that the UPR is the country's university system, the people. Let your actual cost per credit is greater than the private not because it is "inefficient" but because it is a cultural project that goes beyond (and enriching) classrooms. That their graduation rates are the best in the country. It produces most of the scientific and humanistic knowledge of the country. That his fate and that of Puerto Rico are tied together with bonds of strength, old, and rational logic and emotional gobe perhaps at escape but he was nonetheless exist. That allows us to imagine college and build futures. That break college is somehow breaking the collective spirit, the ethos, the thing, the do not know why. Reviews are wrong (we were wrong) that sometimes inhabit? Of course you do. But the UNIVERSITY is much more than the parts that make it up, and (as distinct from the market!, And the law!) Forgives us. It's something else. It's ours.
And that thing, that thing that is the country, our governor and its flag do not understand. Seek new language, expliquémosla again. Some have already begun, to read them, click here , here , here and here . I'm going to sleep, and find the words.Print
The descriptions of the strike launched yesterday at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico vary. The heart of the disagreement is a matter of numbers, a difference between 1) the narratives that claim that "a minority" of students (aka small group, small group, and industry), dissatisfaction with one vote "overwhelmingly" against the strike, took the gates by surprise and 2) those that describe the thing indicating that although the 48-hour strike was rejected in the vote, the second round (the 24-hour strike) was much closer, that those who opposed the strike had prevented quorum to vote on the matter properly, and that about half of the students supported the strike.
The difference, of course, is amplified from there, holding on to it for the many tools available in the imaginary ideological operationalized Those who favor and unemployment are called (by opponents and journalists) "mafuteros" and "troublemakers", the who oppose become "sold-countries", and so on. The banners carried during the assembly students reinforced this question identataria, this crescendo division between "them" and us ": The pro-arrest read" IF YOU GO PA THE INTER CHAVOS "anti-unemployment ripostaban" IF YOU WANT TO STOP PA THE YAY GO. "
University employees were following the process with fascination. In fact the country is what happens in college, especially in the YUPI gates with equal fascination. Whatever you think about the boys, conveniently (and stereotypically) transformed into two "sides" in the collective imagination. Why are such important events led by college students and their enclosures?
Some time ago warned us from above came the "bitter medicine". Soon after, they began to administer. We found that medicine was like the doctors applied the medieval barbers, ie mainly based purges of various types. If the patient was unwell, he drew blood. Today, if the country is unwell, bounce people.
Many people. And that kind of drastic measure has some correlates that accompany it, here and in many other countries of the world at different times. Increase in the number and intensity of police activity, for example.
Shock and awe, called the strategy. Shock and awe, technically Known as rapid dominance, is a military doctrine based on the use of overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary's perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.
As part of this purge "medical", the UPR will alter the basis of the formula that gives the UPR system recurring funds to operate. Coupled with the economic downturn, the university is cut by a number that is estimated between 130 and 200 million. For some time, busy with administrative decision of the UPR, or perhaps stunned, shocked, paralyzed by the deployment of force and strength of the agenda of the "bitter medicine", nothing happened.
And suddenly, there are boys, girls. Much or little, furry or bald, or freshman eighth shouted voting, counting or colors, or deploy deployed with a clear agenda or not, no matter what. The fact is that emerged, perhaps because
when you say flour
knowing that it is bran,
and do not make the deaf
when presented the fact (VP)
And they have fallen above, of course. Ema Rodriguez said a while ago on the radio, referring to the protesters in YUPI, which is "a very small minority group" that does not respect that "the majority has rights" that are "for self". He spoke of the importance of law and order. Figueroa Sancha, a few days ago, said with an authority that left no knowledge that these guys were "eternal students", "the usual suspects" that were in the YUPI even when he (!) Studied. He also spoke of "law and order". And this morning, in a publishing exercise sound, important radio station stated that "our country is one of law and order", that "... we have seen the same little group uses any excuse to take the university" and that it is an attempted to "bring an ideology" (I presume that refer to independence) "for cooking".
I do not know. I'll keep looking. For now, however, my first impression, my initial feeling is that of someone finally guided to know that thing (energy of youth? Does it really matter?), Came out of the shock, left the awe, and went into action, as he said Violeta Parra, who likes students,
clear that eloquence
to the sacred black bag
lowered her indulgences.
Because, how long lasts us
Caramba and samba the thing
Long live all the science!
Photo: Digital Dialogue