Thursday, October 04, 2007

La Realidad (ii)


El periódico Stanford Daily publica el día de hoy una nota bastante extensa sobre las buenas maneras y formas en que Pedro Ángel Palou conduce la UDLA. Sigue llamando la atención que en el extranjero se dé más cobertura a lo que ocurre en la Universidad que la propia prensa poblana o nacional. ¿A cómo estarán los "chayotazos" (dinero que se da a los periodistas para comprar su silencio)?

Llama la atención los últimos párrafos que buscan ligar con la UDLA al antiguo gobernador de Nuevo México, Bill Richardson. Su padre fue presidente del Consejo Universitario e incluso el ahora senador demócrata en plena carrera para la candidatura a la presidencia de EE.UU. cursó un verano en la UDLA. Además fue orador invitado en la graduación de 2003 y hasta hace poco era miembro honorario del casi extinto Consejo Universitario de la UDLA. 

Aquí puedes consultar la nota.

También la incluyo completa en caso de que no se pueda acceder a ella por "misteriosas" censuras.




Crisis in Mexico
Profs claim mass firings at former study abroad spot
October 4, 2007
By Andrea Fuller

When Marcela Cuellar ‘00 looks back on the quarter she spent at the Universidad de las Americas de Puebla (UDLA) in Mexico, she remembers a school “very comparable to Stanford.”

She and other Stanford alumni have fond memories of UDLA, where Stanford sponsored a winter quarter-only program that lasted from 1998 to 2003, when it ended due to low enrollment.

“[Studying at the University] for me was a good experience because it made me feel like they had hope for the future in Mexico,” said Violeta Barroso ‘00.

Today, the Mexican university is reeling, according to a number of UDLA students and faculty, who estimate that nearly 70 professors and 120 staff have been fired or forced to resign since the 2005 appointment of the current rector, Pedro Angel Palou.

Former UDLA Dean of Colleges and International Relations Prof. Mark Ryan said that 24 full-time faculty were dismissed without formal review in December 2005 and that 100 administrative workers were dismissed in June 2006. The communications and economics departments lost half their full-time faculty last May, Ryan added.

The Firings
While UDLA administrators ignored repeated requests from The Daily requesting comment, others involved with the school spoke at length about the mass firings.

“Despite years of dedicated service, [professors] were dismissed without any evaluations or reviews,” Ryan, who was formerly an American Studies lecturer at Yale, wrote in a statement. “The cause, clearly, was merely their dissent, and the rector’s perception of them as a threat to his personal power.”

Ryan said the firings were often accompanied by abrupt office lockdowns, computer impounds and short-notice requirements to vacate university quarters.

“They reportedly were told that if they exercised a legal right to protest their firings, their severance pay would be halved,” he said.

“Respected administrators who served UDLA for decades were fired abruptly,” added a former part-time female professor who asked not to be identified for fear of being banned from campus. “There is a climate of fear on the campus, because nobody knows who will be next to lose their jobs.”

Toward the end of 2006, the administration began enforcing a type of loyalty oath, Ryan said.
“A newly promulgated ‘code of ethics’ stated that neither professors, employees nor students could act in a way that ‘negatively affects the institution’s image,’” Ryan said, quoting from the code. “Any ‘public declarations’ that do not reinforce an ‘image of the Institution as prestigious, solid, cohesive, pluralistic and open to dialogue and constructive criticism’ implicitly became punishable, whatever the reality.”

Several professors also said that Palou replaced the professors who were fired with less qualified personal supporters.

“Before UDLA’s personnel director was fired, he gave me the names of seven political friends Palou had hired as department heads after firing their predecessors,” said Neil Lindley, a former member of the Consejo, UDLA’s advisory board. “The new people, none of whom had university experience, were paid three times the salaries of those who were fired.”

Alleged Conspiracies
Palou consolidated his power further in May when he gained the support of the Patronato — the University governing board controlled by the Don Guillermo Jenkins family. One male professor who asked not to be identified by name said that Palou convinced Jenkins that professors were conspiring against the university.

“Guillermo Jenkins is an elderly man now,” the male professor said. “He’s ill. I think Palou’s convinced Jenkins that there are conspirators and he’s rooting out these conspirators. [Palou] fires anybody he suspects as not being loyal. He interprets loyalty as absolute approval for what he wants to do.”

Ryan said that Palou then fired the university attorney and three accountants investigating his finances.

Lindley protested the firings, emailing the Consejo and requesting Palou’s termination. Lindley said he then received an email from Eduardo Fermin Lastra, the UDLA Provost, requesting his resignation “due to incompatible views about UDLA and its operation.”
Lindley said that eight board members soon resigned in protest of the firings. He added that Palou’s office then sent out a memo to all faculty, staff and members of the Consejo, notifying them that the advisory board would be dissolved.

Eighteen professors met in May to discuss the firings at Ryan’s home, where they drafted a letter of protest. A UDLA guard showed up during the meeting, however, and told Ryan to report to the Rector’s office, where he would sign his resignation. Thirteen of the professors present at the meeting were fired, Ryan said.

Palou then accused Ryan of conspiring against the university.

“I was fired, although the official version was that we — the group that included Prof. Ryan — resigned,” said former Political Science and International Relations Prof. Jose Luis Garcia-Aguilar. “ Under his paranoiac style of governing, Palou called us ‘enemies of UDLA,’ when in reality we wanted reforms to stop the abuses of power and return to the very essence of a true university.”

La Catarina
University affiliates also accused Palou of censoring La Catarina, the school’s student newspaper.

Astrid Viveros, a recent graduate and former La Catarina columnist, said the communications department chair marched into the newspaper’s office last January with several policemen and unplugged computers as Viveros tried to save files onto a flash drive.

“They put a giant chain and lock on the office door,” said Monica Cruz, La Catarina’s summer editor. “We felt like criminals.”

The newspaper was reinstated a few weeks later, following an international media outcry, but Viveros and Cruz said that doing interviews has been a nightmare for the staff, with police taping them with video cameras and trailing them home.

UDLA officials said the newspaper enjoys free press rights.

“It is still functioning,” wrote UDLA spokeswoman Maria Lopez Aguilar in an email to The Daily. “We have total freedom of speech.”

But Cruz said that when students arrived on campus this fall, a new staff took over the paper.
“I told the attorney we couldn’t publish until we had a guarantee that censorship, threats and negative consequences for writing at La Catarina would never happen again,” she said. “It was not long before La Catarina’s advisor assigned a new editor and asked him to form a new staff.”

A Damaged Reputation?
UDLA faculty now face two paradoxical concerns — that recent events may destroy the school’s reputation and that they have gone largely unnoticed by those who could affect change.
Perhaps the most recognizable name associated with UDLA is that of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is also a Democratic candidate for president. The UDLA Web site lists Richardson as an honorary member of the Consejo.

A spokeswoman at Richardson’s office said the Governor would not answer questions about his relationship with UDLA.

Ryan and Lindley said that Richardson is likely unaware of recent developments at UDLA, and that the Consejo has been rendered defunct.

“Honorary members never were very active, except to be recognized at public functions,” Lindley said, adding that, “Richardson did give a commencement address in 2003.”
But UDLA has not gone without sanctions from the international community. According to Lindley, Texas Christian University is in the process of terminating its joint-degree programs with UDLA, and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) put the school on “warning” status in January for failing to provide evidence that its governing board is not controlled by minority interests and failing to prove it has a “sound financial base.”

Faculty now worry about the deteriorating reputation of what was once one of the country’s best universities. Ryan lamented the implications of the controversy for Mexico.

“Faculty, administrators, students, employees and alumni have seen their university decline from a place of participatory governance and free and open expression into an authoritarian milieu of repression and fear,” he said. “They now find that the work of decades — to create a first-rate, secular, private and cosmopolitan university for Mexico, and a bridge among American nations — is unraveling.”


7 comments:

Jorge Muñoz said...

Recuerden simplemente que todos los "periodicos" independientes de las universidades tienen siempre una leyenda que indica que "las opiniones escritas por los autores no reflejan el punto de vista de la institución o sus autoridades" (esta en la catarina, esta en el Skiff, esta en el Daily Stanford).
Si preguntan a las autoridades (yo lo hice) sobre si estan de acuerdo con lo escrito por los alumnos-periodistas, obtendrán respuestas como esta que me enviaron a mi:

"Thanks for your honest assessment. I am not certain as to why certain things appear in the Skiff, but based on my experience I can tell you with great sincerity that the reality portrayed in its pages is not necessarily accurate or a widely-held view by the upper echelons of the TCU administration. Some people enjoy controversy or argument for the sake of generating news; that is certainly not the case with me. From my perspective, TCU has only experienced positive benefits with its experience with UDLA, and I am grateful for the students who have studied here and the friendships made "
(respuesta de un administrativo de alto nivel en TCU, que es la "otra realidad")

QueKi said...

A JORGE MUÑOZ (aka Miguel Méndez Rojas):

Elemental mi querido Watson (por William H. Watson Jr) por lo siguiente:

Opinión IGUAL a Opinión

Nota informativa≠DIFERENTE de Opinión

¿Eres capaz de distinguir una de otra? ¿Por qué no pones la fuente de tu brillante cita? ¿A qué le temes?

Anonymous said...

jorge muñoz
podrias darme el nombre del administrador de alto nivel para decirle lo que palou destruyo

quiero preguntarle si esta de acuerdo con lo que hace un dictador como palou

Anonymous said...

Libertad vs difamación PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Por Ignacio Juárez Galindo

"La libertad de expresión no es derecho a mentir, a alterar la realidad, no es derecho a confundir a la audiencia, no es sustitución de los tribunales: Sánchez Galicia.

El director de Comunicación Social del gobierno del estado, Javier Sánchez Galicia, lanzó una crítica contra aquellos que utilizan la libertad de expresión para mentir, difamar o calumnias o la utilizan para erigirse como tribunales ante la opinión pública.

Durante su discurso en el marco del XCIV aniversario luctuoso de Belisario Domínguez, el funcionario hizo una defensa de la libertad de expresión como sinónimo de honestidad e información objetiva.

"La libertad de expresión no es derecho a mentir, no es sinónimo de difamación y calumnia, no es derecho a desdibujar o alterar o maquillar la realidad, no es derecho a confundir a la audiencia, no es sustitución de los tribunales, y mucho menos la libertad de expresión es el derecho a crear nuevas inquisiciones“.

El discurso del director de Comunicación Social del gobierno del estado se inscribe en las acusaciones del Partido Acción Nacional de una supuesta censura orquestada de Casa Aguayo con la finalidad de presionar a los concesionarios de radio para que no difundiera un spot donde se criticaba la misogina del gobernador Mario Marín Torres, se reproducía su conversación con el empresario Kamel Nacif y se remataba: "no más preciosos".

Acompañado por el secretario de Gobernación estatal, Mario Montero Serrano, Javier Sánchez Galicia sostuvo que "la libertad de expresión es un derecho humano de siempre y para siempre, ha jugado un aspecto crucial en el desarrollo del ser humano y de la sociedad, y mucho más a partir de las últimas décadas debido al desarrollo de las nuevas tecnologías de la información y comunicación".

Y, agregó: "Una de las enseñanzas de Belisario Domínguez es el significado de la libertad de expresión como la actitud de siempre manifestar la verdad, porque la libertad de expresión es honestidad, es información objetiva, es la divulgación de criterios y opiniones diversas, es el derecho de crítica, es actuar con responsabilidad personal y con sentido ético, la libertad de expresión es responsabilidad social y es contribuir a formar opinión, es contribuir a edificar el progreso y desarrollo de las comunidades, es estar de lado de los sectores más desprotegidos".

Deberes ciudadanos

Belisario Domínguez nació en Comitán, Chiapas, el 25 de abril de 1863. En 1879 marchó a Paris para cursar sus estudios profesionales. En 1889 recibió su título de Médico Cirujano y Partero, y regresó a su patria enseguida.

La situación política del país entra en ebullición ante la nueva reelección de Porfirio Díaz en la Presidencia de la República. Los clubes liberales de oposición se multiplicaron en todo el país, sus órganos de prensa eran perseguidos o clausurados, como fue el caso de “El Hijo del Ahuizote”.

Fundó el periódico El Vate, en que publicó artículos contra el presidente Díaz y el gobernador porfirista de su entidad. Con los perfiles de un héroe civil y la grandeza de los personajes épicos, dio una gran lección sobre el cumplimiento de los deberes del ciudadano cuando se ven en peligro las instituciones políticas de su país.

Sostener la verdad con firmeza entera, ese fue el camino que se trazó Belisario Domínguez en su lucha contra la injusticia y la dictadura, lo que le costó la vida la noche del 7 de octubre de 1913.

QueKi said...

AL ANÓNIMO DE LAS 2:28 PM:

Gracias por el artículo, llama la atención el símil que hay entre la vida de Belisario Domínguez y el periódico La Catarina. Ambos lucharon por "sostener la verdad con firmeza entera" ante el poder despótico.

Es que las similitudes son muy acertadas. Me llama la atención el párrafo que dice que Belisario Domínguez fundó un periódico desde donde escribió artículos en contra de Porfirio Díaz, dando "una gran lección sobre el cumplimiento de los deberes del ciudadano cuando se ven en peligro las instituciones políticas de su país".

Qué curioso, lo mismo sucedió en la UDLA con La Catarina pero con nefastas consecuencias: el poder socavó la libertad de expresión usurpando un periódico estudiantil genuinamente establecido; despidiendo profesores que expresaron su opinión y fueron acusados de "conspiradores" así como administrativos que fueron cesados en aras de una mejora continua.

Ni modo, a veces la historia se repite.

Anonymous said...

¿¿¿Sostener la verdad = Servir como instrumento de manipulación???

QueKi said...

AL ANÓNIMO DE LAS 8:58 PM:

Me encanta tu uso extensivo de signos de interrogación. Hablan muy bien de ti y lo culto que eres. ¿Sientes que al llenar tu comentario con ellos sustituirás tu falta de argumentos? ¡Argumentos por favor, uno solo aunque sea!

Caray, si para ti "manipulación" fue defender en las páginas de La Catarina los derechos de profesores, alumnos y administrativos vejados, qué te puedo decir. Tienes una definición errónea de la palabra.

No hay nada peor que un necio... bueno sí lo hay: un necio ciego y para colmo de males, anónimo.