Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unfinished Business

"No a la injusticia," ("No to injustice") read the sign of one student, referring to the $800 fee in which University of Puerto Rico (UPR) students are expected to pay in January. Back in April, I had blogged about the student strike, which finally ended in June after a two month shutdown of the university. The students proclaimed victory at the end of the strike, as canceled tuition waivers were reinstated and tuition hikes were temporarily withheld. However, the university administration never ruled out the $800 fee. This latest round of protests, as well as talk of yet another shutdown, is anything but surprising. "La lucha sigue," ("the fight continues") expressed those who attended, an estimated 2,094 people, the student national assembly held in Ponce at the end of June. The University of Puerto Rico, which is comprised of 11 campuses around the island, has over 60,000 students.

While the fight continues for less than 5% of the entire student body, at least those who have the audacity to do so, perhaps the rest are cognizant of the potential dangers lying ahead. As a result of the two month student strike, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) has placed the UPR's accreditation on probation. The leadership and governance of UPR was also cited as another reason for MSCHE's decision. This does not bode well for an overwhelming majority of students, most of whom depend on federal assistance such as Pell Grants, to pay their tuition. Many will stand to lose such financial assistance should the MSCHE decide to terminate the university's accreditation. Looking at the situation from a financial perspective, students can either pay the $800 fee or risk losing thousands in federal funding. Life involves knowing how to pick and choose your battles. Perhaps it's time for Jon Stewart to pay a visit to the island and organize a "Rally to Restore Sanity."


Anonymous said...

Thank you for blogging. I enjoy your perspective as it is realistic and thoughtfully written.


adriana said...

Hello Wil,

Really appreciate your comments! One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is the feedback I receive from readers like yourself.

Thanks for reading!