Diálogo is the award-winning University of Puerto Rico (UPR) newspaper now celebrating 25 years since its founding. In the midst of these celebrations and right in the middle of Press Week [Semana de la Prensa], UPR president Miguel Muñoz has fired its director Marcos Pérez to replace him temporarily with an interim director, professor and political commentator Héctor Ríos Maury. The dismissal also occurs right after the firing of Professor Juan Giusti (Proyecto CAUCE) and at the end of a series of budget cuts that began with former UPR President Antonio García Padilla. Muñoz has characterized the dismissal as a step in the process of “restructuring.” As we can see by the following article’s title—“Descabezan a Diálogo en la UPR”—others see it as a beheading based on specific political goals. Here are excerpts:
Muñoz characterized the dismissal as a move in the process of “restructuring:” “As part of the restructuring process we will begin an assessment of the newspaper to identify all those opportunities that allow the optimal positioning of the system of the University of Puerto Rico in Diálogo. We want Diálogo to further promote college life through the voices of professors from the various branches and Communication students in the [university] system. We will work to ensure that all units are represented in Diálogo through sections providing scientific, academic, social, economic, and cultural news of high value. We hope Diálogo continues being the leader of opinions on issues of social impact and that it continues to promote the debate of ideas among all sectors of the country,” said the President.
The publication began as a monthly paper later but opened a website (dialogodigital.com) and made a transition so that its hard copy is published every two months. Its permanent team consists of three main employees: an editor, an administration official and a photographer. Its directorship is a post chosen at the discretion of the president of the UPR and its contributors are in turn selected by the newspaper director. The newspaper had a Board of Directors chaired by Dr. Silvia Álvarez Curbelo but their appointments expired last year and the university administration has not appointed successors.
Pérez, who directed the publication for two years, indicated that the only motive given to him for his dismissal was that this is position of trust [appointed by the university president]. In reaction to his dismissal, Pérez said, “The University is operating under a regime of fear and that’s very sad. Fear has no place in the university’s academic environment, and here at the University, this is the environment that now reigns . . . the joy of knowledge is vanishing at the UPR.” Moreover, he suggested that the criteria being used by the University administration are based on “party politics and personal reasons.”
[. . .] In its first 25 years of service, the publication [Diálogo] earned more than 40 national and international awards for the quality of its work, which depends mainly on the members of the university community, such as student interns.
For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.80grados.net/2011/08/descabezan-a-dialogo-en-la-upr/
For a look at Diálogo online, see http://dialogodigital.com/