Students at the state-run University of Puerto Rico on Thursday demanded that Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla eliminate the $800 annual fee imposed last year on top of the standard tuition of $49 per credit hour, the Spanish press agency EFE reports.
Members of the University Student Confederation issued a communique calling for the elimination of the fee that last year sparked one of the longest students strikes UPR had ever experienced.
According to the leader of the student organization, Hannan Ortiz, the fee forced more than 10,000 UPR students to leave the university, which has 11 campuses and more than 64,000 students.
Ortiz said that the withdrawal of the students “is worrisome at a time when it’s necessary to develop alternatives to the crisis of violence our country is experiencing.”
During last year’s strike, police took control of the access points to UPR a few hours after the end of the two-day paralysis of the facility caused by the students’ rejection of the fee.
The entry of the police onto UPR’s main San Juan campus was a surprise given the unwritten agreement reached years ago not to allow security forces to enter the university grounds. Their presence at the institution had led to serious incidents during the 1970s and ‘80s.
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