Univ. of Puerto Rico Students Declare Victory After Agreement with Administrators

Posted on June 18, 2010



June 17, 2010
Students Gain After Strike in Puerto Rico

MIAMI — Thousands of students at the University of Puerto Rico who went on
strike two months ago to oppose severe budget cuts declared victory on
Thursday after reaching an agreement with administrators.

As part of a deal brokered by a court-appointed mediator, students would end
their strike — one of the largest and longest such walkouts in Puerto Rican
history — in exchange for a number of concessions. Most notably, the
university’s Board of Regents has agreed to cancel a special fee that would
have effectively doubled the cost to attend the university’s 11 public

The deal also includes a promise that there will be no sanctions against
strike organizers, who clashed at times with the police at the main Río
Piedras campus outside San Juan.

The accord must still be approved by a general assembly of university
students, which is expected Monday. Christopher Powers, a literature
professor at the Mayagüez campus, said it was “nearly a complete victory for
the students,” noting that they failed to get a promise that there would be
no large tuition increase next year. Professor Powers said planned cuts
later this year to the salaries and benefits of professors could set off
another round of conflict.

The fact that a student movement was able to force the administration and
the government to sit down at the negotiating table and concede to nearly
all their demands is a very important precedent,” Professor Powers said. “It
will serve as an inspiration.”


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