EPORT TO THE
DUCATION ABOUT THE
The unrest started at the RP Campus when a 48-hour stoppage was slated for April 21, 2010 during astudent assembly on April 13
. The other units gradually joined by declaring stoppages, which later degenerated into an indefinite illegal strike. In most campuses, student assemblies have been contentious,often poorly attended, and with questionable means to guarantee and limit the participation to
students, and the appropriate use of parliamentary methods, bringing into question the legitimacy of thedeterminations. For example, it became a pattern in units where a strike vote was not obtained the first timearound that additional assemblies were prompted by different student groups until a strike vote wasobtained.To this day, the number of students blocking the gates at the respective units remains very small, butviolent incidents and damage to University property has been reported mainly in the RP, Mayagüez andUPR Carolina campuses. The major quandary to date remains at the RP Campus, where a group of protesters, on the order of 100-200 and not all necessarily students, remain inside the Campus, have donesignificant damage to property, have built barricades that prevent the flow of traffic and pedestrians, andcontinue limiting access to the premises by various forms of intimidation.There is substantial evidence that a strike at UPR, and especially at the RP Campus, was planned sinceOctober 2009, regardless of the particular motives invoked, to serve as the epicenter for an island widelevel strike against the central government’s measures to face its current deficit. As shown throughout thisReport, the students’
initial points of contention
eventually degenerated into a constantly changing set of grievances and demands.The UPR has taken several steps to try to remedy this challenging situation, namely: (1) diplomacy,including
Dialogue and Mediation
, including assistance of the state police at the gatesand petitions to the courts to maintain open access to the RP, Mayagüez and other campuses; (3) an
, to alert students, the University Community, the taxpayers and the people of Puerto Rico at large, as stakeholders of the state university, of the implications and consequences of thecontinuation of the student strike.
Originally, the issues that allegedly prompted the strike votes were Certification Number 98 (2009-2010) of the Board of Trustees that calls for the development of a new tuition exemption policy, and theimplementation of a Summer Course Fee in some institutional units.
The Board of Trustees issued Certification 98 in early 2010 in response to the findings by its InternalAuditors, which revealed the need of standardized criteria for the granting of exemptions throughout thesystem. Further studies revealed that besides the exemptions authorized by the Board of Trustees for employees and relatives, honor roll, graduate teaching assistants and others, other exemptions have beenimplemented throughout the system without the required authorization of the Board, such that to date, 3 outof 10 students get tuition exemptions, which amount to approximately 25% of the system´s yearly tuitionincome.