Resignations rock UPR upper echelons
SAN JUAN – On Thursday evening, 12 high-ranking members of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) resigned, including its president, Dr. Celeste Freytes. The wave of resignations comes about amid heightened tension between the institution’s administration, the academic community and the government regarding how to deal with a proposed $300 million cut in government subsidy to the UPR.
The now former UPR president made the announcement through a video in which she defended her tenure and called for the continuation of the university’s strategic plan, which was established before the Fiscal Oversight and Management Board suggested the $300 million budget cut.
Although, Freytes didn’t mention the preparation of the fiscal plan, the chancellors who resigned cited the budget cut’s size and the governor’s delay in filling the five vacancies in the UPR’s governing board as reasons for leaving.
“The result is clear: The required figure can’t be reached cutting 36% of the current budget allocation. Every cut affects in a different way an heterogeneous university system whose operations have been significantly debilitated during the past eight years of adjustments. The institutional debacle is foreseeable, and the consequences for all of the university community’s sectors cannot be measured,” read the departing chancellor’s press release.
The UPR governing board is slated to hold a special meeting Friday in which it will most likely choose another president, on an interim basis, who in turn will be in charge of filling the nine chancelleries and two vice presidencies, which now lie vacant.
The president’s departure creates new uncertainty about the direction of the university’s fiscal plan as it will now be subject to the new president’s proposals.