December 12, 2013
Students target UBA vote
Superior Council elections marred by turmoil
The election of the University of Buenos Aires’s Superior Council took place in the middle of demonstrations held by student unions, who are demanding a bigger say in the running of country’s most renowned educational centre.
Students gathered at the chancellor’s office but when they arrived they found several fences blocking their entry. For hours, they struggled with police officers deployed there.
In the morning, lecturers elected their five representatives. There were two lists contesting: One headed by Osvaldo Delgado and Darío Richarte and the other one led by Federico Schuster and Hugo Trinchero.
Delgado’s list defeated Schuster’s. In a press statement, the chancellor’s office informed that the first list would have four representatives and the second ballot one.
As it was scheduled, by noon, graduate students met and chose their five representatives. The most heated debate took place when students finally came to vote. Four representatives were elected on the ballot called “For Democratization,” headed by the Trotskyist Workers Party (PO) and another by the so-called “Reformist list”, conformed by the Radical Party’s group Franja Morada and by some Socialist sectors.
The next battle will take place on December 5 when the 236 councilors who are part of the University’s assembly will gather to elect a new chancellor. The assembly is formed of 208 members of the executive boards from the 13 UBA schools, the 15 superior councilors elected yesterday and the 13 deans.
“We are requesting the reform of the charter used to select the chancellor,” Julián Asiner, the head of the Buenos Aires University Students Union Federation (FUBA) told the Herald, adding that the change has been an unfulfilled promise.
In fact, students are demanding a broader participation for the educational community. They complain that the university’s 300,000 students are not enough provided a fair representation. In a press release, students said they are collecting signatures to support their reform proposal.
“Right now, we cannot decide over the main issues discussed by the authorities and we do not agree with the decisions they make,” Asiner added, giving as an example the agreements sealed by the university with the public administration and businesses.
Current Chancellor Rubén Hallú had already expressed that he was not going to run for a third term. Alberto Edgardo Barbieri, who has been serving as deputy chancellor since 2010, is a contender for December’s election. He was the Economics School’s dean. Former Social Sciences’ dean Federico Schuster is said to be one of his possible contenders but has hardly any chances of resulting elected.
Social Sciences School
The executive board yesterday elected former communication director Glenn Postolski as the new dean for the UBA’s Social Sciences School. Postolski will be joined by Patricia Funes to replace former dean Sergio Caletti. Postolski is one of the main promoters of the Media Observatory.
President of the students union Romina Lijavetzky said yesterday that students did not take part in the election because they did not agree with the fact that the minority of the educational community was electing the dean.
Students took over the building and the authorities of the Social Sciences School decided to call off all the scheduled activities, even a graduation ceremony.
A day after the students staged a sit-in at the Exact Sciences School, outgoing Dean Jorge Aliaga yesterday decided to put an end to his entrenchment.
Some say that the timing of the election might have heated the situation at the UBA, but indications are that its inner electoral process will continue in the months ahead.