PDP President Urges UPR Students to Open Gates
SAN JUAN — Popular Democratic Party (PDP) President Héctor Ferrer on Thursday urged students from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) to reopen the gates to the Río Piedras campus, which has been on strike along with other campuses amid proposed multimillion-dollar cuts to the public university system.
“I respect protest as a means to pressure the government and the Fiscal Oversight & Management Board [created by the federal Promesa law]; however, students must understand that [Gov. Ricardo] Rosselló’s government strategy is to not lift a finger in ways to achieve the opening of the gates,” Ferrer said in a written statement.
“Faced with this scenario, I urge students to allow the university to reopen and to modify their negotiating tactics. Opening the gates is a victory for students, which is how we stop the plan to sell the university,” Ferrer emphasized, as he recommended students battle the government’s austerity measures from within the university, “and to continue presenting proposals to save Puerto Rico’s first center of higher learning.”
The Río Piedras campus will hold its fourth student general assembly in the afternoon, during which students will decide if they continue their indefinite strike. Students are protesting the $450 million budget cut to the academic institution that is included in the government’s fiscal plan and certified by the oversight board. Yesterday, a group of student representatives from the university’s 11 campuses met with oversight board members to discuss strategies to reduce costs and generate more revenue for the public university system, but the chairman, José Carrión, reiterated that the multimillion-dollar cuts are not open for negotiation.