In an unprecedented and blatant violation of the institution’s autonomy, OPSU – Maduro’s office for higher education – has just appointed a non-scholar with barely a trimester in academia as Academic Vice-Chancellor of Universidad Simón Bolívar.
USB is a public university, so you may think our centralist, power-obsessed government would have full control over it. Not so. In the Spanish-speaking world, we have the concept of university autonomy, which guarantees that certain higher education institutions are self-governing and out-of-bounds from any meddling by the State.
President Caldera decreed Universidad Simón Bolívar’s autonomy way back 1995, but bureaucracies move slowly and its reglamento autonómico wasn’t ready by the time Chávez took power. El comandante’s agenda, of course, never prioritized giving freedom to institutions that would oppose him, so today USB is “autonomous, but not really”.
Bureaucracies move slowly and its reglamento autonómico wasn’t ready by the time Chávez took power.
The current Framework Law on Education reads that the vote of a professor, a student and a university worker have equal weight. As a result, the Supreme Tribunal ordered the suspension of university elections until conditions stick to the law. This is why OPSU, tired of waiting, took the preposterous decision.
Now, with some professors calling to “activate Article 350”, it’s fair we ask ourselves how.
Well, look at someone who knows how to keep Maduro out of her business. The TSJ appointed a phony Vice-Prosecutor, what did the Prosecutor do? Ignore her and used her local power to keep her out. Luisa never even mentions her!
The university had already appointed a Vice-Chancellor, a former Dean and a well-respected member of the community. Who’s that new guy? Never heard of him. Is he ever going to set foot in the campus grounds? Not even in the trunk of a car.
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