all renounce and reject”. The Daily Sun added that “we do not want this new order, neither for our university, the Capitol, La Fortaleza or our neighborhoods. We reject it with all our might, exercising our freedom of speech, or freedom of association is not a crime.”
As they say in Puerto Rico, “Mas clar no canta un gallo” (it could not have been more clearly stated).
On February 12, just four days after students were mercilessly beaten by PR police, over 10,000 alumnus, parents, grandparents, family members and other citizens took to the streets and marched over to reclaim the UPR campus, demanding that the police immediately be ordered off campus.
The spark for the university’s problems was a budget cut that required students to pay a new $800 fee, increasing their costs by more than 50 percent.
The tuition is indeed far lower than most other flagship public universities. But Puerto Rico is poorer than the United States, and two-thirds of the students have incomes low enough to qualify for Pell grants.
Student leaders estimate that at least 5,000 of the university’s students were not able to pay the fee this semester. And the administration acknowledges that there are now fewer than 54,000 students this semester, compared with about 60,000 last semester.
In addition to the debacle and related violence at the University, in the past two years legislation has been passed that would prohibit protests at construction sites and most recently at any government building that renders educational services and other locations offering government services, under penalty of criminal prosecution.
The Puerto Rico Bar Association was recently de-certified through legislation which the Governor signed into law, which all but shut down operations. Several lawyers aligned with the views of the current administration pushed for de-certification and had
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