¡Que vivan los estudiantes!
Puerto Rico’s higher education system approved its most substantial budget cut ever on Friday. What was supposed to be $300 million turned into a whopping $450 million amid economic crisis, reports Remezcla. Now, the frustrated students on the island are taking measures to fight for their education.
“It’s a general protest. It’s a call for other sectors to wake up to the rights of Puerto Ricans,” says Wilmarí De Jesús Álvarez, President of the Consejo General de Estudiantes del Recinto de Río Piedras. “The budget cuts proposed by La Junta aren’t to help Puerto Rican people, they’re to pay off a debt whose origins are unclear, a debt we’re not sure was taken on responsibly.”
The students will come together on different dates in April, which includes a National Assembly and an opportunity to vote on their participation. Five of the 11 campuses have confirmed their attendance.
“[The University of Puerto Rico] has a responsibility to the country to provide an opportunity for people to develop, to access an education that will improve their quality of life…for social mobility in this country,” says De Jesús Álvarez.
This isn’t the first time that UPR students come together against looming budget cuts. In 2010, historic strikes took place that resulted in campus closings, police violence and arrests.