SAN JUAN – An extraordinary assembly in which about 2,000 people participated on Thursday approved continuing the student strike that has paralyzed the Universidad de Puerto Rico for more than three weeks.
The strike was launched to protest a cut of $100 million in the university’s budget.
The assembly, convened by the General Council of Students to demand from the Negotiating Committee information about the status of the talks, voted to maintain the protest for an indefinite period despite the fear expressed by some participants about the possible loss of the school year.
UPR President Jose Ramon de la Torre had been confident that Thursday’s assembly would mark the end of the strike.
The San Juan press reported Thursday that the convening of the assembly came in response to the different stances maintained by different student sectors, which diverge over how to press their demands.
Some sectors – according to these reports – are lobbying for lifting the strike with the achievements obtained so far and continuing the negotiations from within, while others want to continue the protest until more substantial results and agreements are secured.
The president of the UPR’s board of trustees, Ygri Rivera, said that every day the strike continues costs the institution roughly $1 million.
Meanwhile, economist Jose Alamada said that the total cost of the strike up to now has been $52 million, if one adds to the main San Juan campus the costs of the closure of the rest of the institution’s campuses elsewhere on the island.
The tuition hike cap of 4 percent being demanded by the students and the UPR’s exclusion from the government’s so-called Public Private Alliances are the obstacles pointed to by the press that remain in the way of a definitive accord.
The UPR has 11 campuses around the island that provided educational services for about 65,000 students.