UPR Students Declare Indefinite Boycott

Student protesters have extended the initial 48-hour student boycott indefinitely after failed negotiations with the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) administration.  The students earlier demanded for the re-audit of the UPR’s financial accounts as a response to the series of fiscal and administrative policy changes.

Here’s more from the Puerto Rico Daily Sun:

The 48-hour stoppage set for Wednesday was called by students to protest the administration’s plan to cut the budget and overhaul the tuition waivers system.

“The stoppage will continue and the only thing that will end it is if the Board of Trustees cancels the resolution on the tuition waiver,” Arturo Rios, the student group’s spokesperson said.

He was referring to a resolution approved by the Board of Trustees in February that established a moratorium on new tuition waivers and develop new policies to grant tuition waivers to ensure “uniformity” in the system and save money. Students are protesting the move, arguing it will leave many needy students without the financial benefit.

Ríos said the group was surprised the president “stood them up” and the fact that communication broke down but “we are still open to a dialogue.”

He said the student committee wanted to discuss with De la Torre the policy of non-confrontation and demand a meeting with the Board of Trustees.

“They are the ones really who have the power. De la Torre does not have the decision making power,” he said.

The students said they will oppose any attempts to hike student tuition to resolve the fiscal crisis at the university, which is slated to end the year with a budget deficit estimated at between $200 million to $250 million. UPR obtains most of its funds from a budgetary formula that this fiscal year provided $835 million. However, with Puerto Rico in the midst of a deep economic recession, UPR’s formula is only estimated to provide $729 million during the next fiscal year.