UPR Board Orders Investigation into Presidential Scholarships
SAN JUAN – The president of the University of Puerto Rico’s (UPR) governing board, Jorge Sánchez, has requested the Internal Audit Office conduct an investigation into the process of awarding presidential scholarship for the past 13 years.
“If there is any irregularity, as recently speculated…it will be published at the conclusion of the investigation,” Sánchez said.
Were irregularities to be found, steps to correct them will be taken, including repaying funds in case of any wrongdoing in the awarding of the scholarships, the chairman added.
UPR President Uroyoán Walker Ramos has assured the scholarships have met all the parameters established by the Board of Trustees.
The governing board will also commission a review of the rules governing these grants, including correcting any findings arising from the investigation.
The board will meet Monday to focus on the recommendations of a study for the administrative and academic restructuring of the UPR by the U.S. Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.
The study’s recommendations will be presented to the university community to gather its opinions before deciding to implement structural changes in the UPR.
Meanwhile,New Progressive Party Rep. José Enrique “Quiquito” Meléndez called on Walker to immediately stop disbursing funds earmarked for the presidential scholarship and to begin the selection process again so it be “open and with enough time for the entire university community to participate and submit its applications.”
The UPR president allegedly provided fewer than two weeks for other campus directors to submit their candidates, contrary to selection process stipulations.
The legislator, who submitted a resolution to the House Education Committee to investigate whether there was political favoritism in the selection, said, “It is highly suspicious that two people affiliated with the Popular Democratic Party, friends of the former president of the UPR, Antonio García Padilla, and linked to the current government, were selected to receive the scholarship over thousands of students,” adding that “situations like these, where there is a lack of transparency, are what puts into question the credibility of the university system and undermine the less fortunate and low income students who go to the UPR public school system aspiring to a better future.”