UPDATES: Occupation Faculties of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

Announcement to occupy faculties at the UPR here.

Manifesto in English and Spanish.

::: Updates :::

Updates published inside the solidarity group on facebook:


  • Some additional information on today's (May 05th) clash. I especially love the sad lack of awareness from reality that the rector seems to suffer from.

  • Solidarity from the student movement at the Dominican Republic.
  • The Government and the UPR administrations have no other choice but to sit down for negotiations. Instead, they choose violence... That's their only argument...

  • Solidarity from the education movement in Bern (Switzerland).
  • Scenes of some of the police attacks.
  • The cops went in at one of the gates of the UPR Rio Piedras campus and bashed heads. Around 30 wounded, including a reporter. They've retreated. No real reason stated, and the "officers" had no badges on display. A line of professors later stepped in between the cops and the students. According to the Non-confrontation Policy that both parties (students/protesters and the State) have followed for years, police are not supposed to enter the UPR. Of course, with this reactionary government we've seen that nothing is respected.

  • UPR School of Medicine joined the strike for 24 hours!

  • This morning very stron presence of Puerto Rico Police around and near campus. Strike Force, police helicopter and the chief of police in Puerto Rico in the area. Then, when we thought the worse conversations and negotiations started. At the moment 10 out of 11 campuses of the UPR on strike. Solidarity among sindicates, organizations and else supporting our students!

  • The Universidad Nacional Autónoma Mexicana (UNAM) has joined in solidarity with the students of the UPR.

  • We're now receiving support from students of private institutions back home! A great wall has been breached.

  • 9 out of 11 campuses are now on strike or lockdown. With the addition of the most conservative campus to the list, the administration must be feeling the heat. Yesterday, a combination of legal decisions supporting the students and the successful, and historic, concert that took part in the Rio Piedras Campus have solidified the gains of a true majority. Victory after victory, let's keep it going!

  • The administration might have cut off internet access to the protesters and organized bogus internet voting for or against the strike, tried intimidating students on various campuses through e-mails, denied students their right to assembly, threatened violence, and pretended to negotiate with quislings and treasonous students claiming to represent a "silent majority", but all efforts to chip away at the manifest will of the students have failed. Today a concert will be held on the Rio Piedras campus grounds. The students have earned respect and accolades for their exemplary conduct. Thank you all for your solidarity! The strike continues! VIVA LA UPR!

[posted May 07th - 5pm GMT]

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  • There have been reports that the Bayamón campus administration has been sending discouraging emails to its students stating that there will be class tomorrow, disregarding any strike, and an increased police presence has been noted around the area, an open intimidation ploy.

  • According to the governor, education is a privilege, not a right. Lovely.

  • Recount of the first 48hrs of protest:
  • The Medical Sciences Campus (RCM in Spanish) has voted against joining their strike. Their main argument was a concern that the medical services they provide might be jeopardized, a valid point. However, such an act was in itself not a dismissal of their fellows, and individual RCM students who feel solidarity with the strike have stated that they will go and make a stand with their UPR brothers and sisters. This, I believe, is the meaning of a mature democracy.

  • Most campuses are on strike, lockout, or are having their assemblies. Still waiting on others to get their act together.

  • Collective of students getting ready to fight for our rights and our education in the usually passive ad reactionary University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

  • Students have taken the gates of the Carolina campus.

  • So ends the third day of the strike. As the media often portrays them, the students covered up their faces on Sunday and then went on to paint sidewalks and curbs, clean the grounds and enjoy a nice afternoon of what they termed Red Sunday. The media back home is baffled. The UPR students have successfully chipped a way at prevailing student stereotypes with their actions these past few days. This has strengthened them in the eyes of the country, and continues to fuel the hope of kindling the fires of resistance. With each passing day support continues to grow from all sectors and walks of life. [video]

  • This video captures an attempted entry by students armed with a legal decision allowing them entry into campus.
    The police barred their entrance, utilized force against one of them and threw him to the ground, and later refused to identify who was their commanding officer.


  • Limited compilation of photographs (re)presenting the student strike. More images will be added as the strike continues.

  • Police gives traffic tickets to drivers who hunk their horns as a show of solidarity with the students in strike.
    Honking a car's horn in Puerto Rico, depending on the context, is usually a way to display one's approval with something.

  • Calle 13 also expresses solidarity with the UPR students. A concert in support of the strike and the sudent's fight is being organized for tuesday, April 27.
  • Ricky Martin, Tego Calderón and Robi "Draco" Rosa - all of them Puerto Rican music artists - expressed today their solidarity with the students. Calderón and Rosa visited some of the students at the UPR gates. While time passes by, more people continue to express their solidarity by: giving food and basic materials, marching in front of the main gate, and giving public statements in support of the students.

  • The students began an indefinite strike today at the UPR Río Piedras because the administration did not open their doors for negotiation. There will be a poetry/musical jam at 6pm with local writers, meanwhile students give flowers to the people that arrive at the gates of the University and to the police officers who control the gates.

  • Mainstream media report on the situation.

[posted April 27th - 10:20am GMT]

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  • Video of public school teachers being evicted.

  • Earlier today the Tactical Operation Division forcefully removed protesting teachers from the collector's office at the Treasury Department and the reception area at the Retirement System. Teachers were protesting against the government's attempt at fusing the Treasury Department's inversions with government employee's retirement funds.
[posted April 23rd 11:50am GMT]
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  • There are now EIGHT campuses on strike. SOLIDARITY!

  • The Federation of Teachers has joined the protesters at the gates. This group represents the body of public school teachers on the island.

  • The courts have ruled in favor of the UPR administration and against the students. Meanwhile, more campuses are joining the strike with stoppages of their own.

  • I'm still waiting for any shred of evidence of the supposed attacks on security guards with pepper spray yesterday. Not that I'm saying that spiced pig is a bad thing, but that was the supposed "event" that was used as an excuse to activate the police. Where are these victims of student aggression?

[posted April 22nd - 9:45pm GMT]

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  • Because you can never have too much of a good thing! The strike continues!

  • The situation has calmed down. Regular police are still around, but the SWAT were pulled back. It was at the brink. The strike continues.
[posted April 22nd - 4.45pm GMT]

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  • First pictures: "And they waited until nightfall".

 

 

[posted April 22nd - 0:30am GMT]

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  • Short report in English by Associated Press on the situation.

  • The offensive seems to be imminent.

  • Police have moved to the main gates. They lack the legal recourse to enter the campus, but that doesn't seem to be be a hinderance to them.

  • The police is already hurting students with pepper-spray. The shock troops have started their offensive. The students are defending themselves with whatever they can find.

  • The shock troops are there. They have helicopter support. It's only a matter of time now. It is now 3:12 PM local PR time.

[posted April 22nd - 0:10am GMT]

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  • The PR Police elite forces are gathering near the University. It looks like the state wants to crush the strike with its violence, with no intention of any negotiation. That's how the UPR administration is trying to defend its anti-universitary policies. Shame on them!!!!

  • The police and private rent-a-cops are already congregating around the university grounds. It is now 2:00 AM local PR time.

  • Event page was set up for the strike action today.
  • The students at the UPR Humacao campus have joined in and declared a 48-hour strike alongside the original stoppage at UPR Rio Piedras.

  • The UPR President has publicly stated that they cannot negotiate with the students because we have nothing to negotiate. He states that there is no atmosphere for dialogue from the students, even though we have called him directly to meet.
    -->
    The UPR President has echoed this stance; there is an attempt to divide the student movement.

  • The chief of the police (superintendent José Figueroa Sancha) has said that the students at the UPR are a bunch of troublemakers and that they will do their part if called upon by the UPR administration. The state university has a non-confrontation policy which prohibits the state police from entering university grounds after various violent confrontations from the 1940s-1980s.
  • Preparations continue as the UPR Río Piedras prepares for 48 hours of work/study stoppage that will begin on wednesday morning and the possibility of an indefinite strike that could begin on friday.
  • Our Student Negotiating Committee went to meet, as planned, the President of the UPR today. They were, however, greeted by no one and left again since there was none to meet with. (April 20th)

  • It seems that as a gesture of "good will" that the administration of the UPR went ahead and painted over the work done by the students at the occupation. At the same time, opposite groups of students against the 48-hour strike, and any resistance in general have sprung up around Facebook. It seems that we're facing a multi-front assault.

  • One of the workers union (the HEEND) of the UPR and the Association of University Professors of Puerto Rico (APPU) have expressed their public solidarity with the students as they prepare for a work/study stoppage on wednesday, April 21, 2010. Family and friends of the students organize as well to attend the strike in solidarity.

[posted April 21st - 5pm GMT]

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  • The stoppage/strike will begin next week on wednesday morning.
  • At the General Assembly today, the students of the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico have approved a 48 hours stoppage by a vote of 761 in favor, 263 against. The work/study stoppage would be taken as a way to pressure the UPR administration to cancel the moratorium on scholarships (to athletes, honor... students, sons/daughters of university workers) and agree to stop any attempt to privatize any of the various campi.

  • An activist is being cited: “Our goal was not the closing of the university, as some bloggers invariably insist on, but to break free from the monotony of a lecture, of existing power relations, and of the prevalent relations of production. We wanted to, as the Humanities Manifesto stated, ‘smash the machine’. And we did.”
  • LatinaLista.net gives you a short report on the situation just before the General Assembly today.
  • Pictures of the paintings (pintata) at the Humanities occupation.
  • Some pictures of todays general assembly can be accessed here.

[posted April 13th - 0.30am GMT]

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  • Thanks to the pressure and negotiation of our coordinators and some Student Council representatives, we have been allowed to paint the benches at Plaza Antonia. Now they pretend to silence us by cutting electricity for our sound equipment. We will keep going, they had to let free artistic expression flow.

  • Students at Plaza Antonia have painted little because of the persistent threat from the university guards who have demonstrated today their preference for subjective violence rather than dialogue.

  • Humanities students have gone around the Rio Piedras Campus with a series of performances demanding "an academic and creative university". The occupation is spreading throughout the campus with various artistic manifestations. While the Social Sciences Action Committe has made public that they will file a claim against... Agent Escobar who was said to be responsible for the injuries Ibrahim Garcia Gonzalez sustained.

[posted April 12th - 9.20pm]

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  • Occupation in the College of Humanities has been a success. Students, workers and professors have freed their day and transformed their monday. The transformation of the relations of production is a step towards freeing ourselves from the machine.


  • There has been some confrontations with the university guards in the College of Social Sciences, while at Humanities a guard took a picture of a student because he was documenting how they (guards) verbally assaulted some activists.

  • One of the students who was arrested in the College of Social Sciences was hurt during the disciplinary intervention. There is no word yet on what charges will be submitted against him and another social sciences student.
    -->
    The hurt student is being transported to the Hospital Auxilio Mutuo were he will be treated for wounds apparently caused by the guards.

  • Collective musical jams are taking place in the Plaza Antonia (Antonia's Square), performances occur in every hallway and the air is filled of art and creativity.

  • The hurt student has been identified as Ibrahim Garcia Gonzalez and he shouted that he was hit by a university guard named Escobar (his last name). Amnesty International is investigating the event to determine if they will provide legal assistance to Garcia Gonzalez.

[posted April 12th - 4.55pm GMT]

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Two faculties occupied at the University of Puerto Rico now!!
Everything went well at the sciences humaines so far.
But two students were arrested at the Faculty of Social Sciences during todays occupation.

News only in Spanish at the moment: click here [warning: mainstream news].

Comments

What students are denouncing during the 48 hours strike!

The UPR administration pretends to manage the university like a commercial company whose goal is the production of capital and not of critical thinking. A public university should have as its primary function the democratization of education; this means, it should make sure that the majority of the population can educate themselves adequately in order to later serve society as professionals.

What is taking course in the UPR is affecting all of the college community: workers, professors and students. The administration has frozen tenure positions which are part of the nervous system of a university. Their logic is only to cut and save, but for what? To cut the salaries of professors and to freeze tenure-track positions is to choke the academic development of the UPR. Less professors means less classes and less investigations. All of which is detrimental to the economic development of the island.

The UPR administration is also planning to cut the scholarships given to athletes, honor students, musicians, artists and actors that later represent the University and the country with their work. The education of thousands of students is being threatened by the fetish of saving.

Declaracion de Solidaridad

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Saludos compañier@s de Puerto Rico

Nosotr@s, l@s estudiantes del movimiento "unsereuni" ("nuestra uni") de la Universidad de Berna, Suiza, queremos expresar nuestra total solidaridad con l@s estudiantes en huelga de Río Piedras de la Universidad de Puerto Rico.

Ante las nuevas medidas que ha decidido llevar a cabo la administración de la universidad creemos que nuestro deben es apoyar la demanda estudiantil para detener los recontes salariales a los profesionales así como su oposición en contra del aumento de los gastos de matriculación. Apoyamos y conpartimos su lucha por una educación que debe ser crítica y emancipatoria. Una educación que debe ser para todos y que debe beneficiar los intereses del pueblo y no dedicarse a favorecer los intereses de determinadas empresas.

Aunque la distancia que separa a nuestros dos países sea tan grande, nuestras ilusiones, nuestras ideas y pensamientos en estos importantes momentos estan al lado de nuestr@s compañer@s en Puerto Rico.

¡Solidaridad con l@s estudiantes de Puerto Rico!
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