The UNAM, what is missing

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As never before, in the current process to elect the new rector of the UNAM there was a high participation, not of students and professors, but of applicants for the position, who totaled 17, most of whom signed up without sufficient resume, but yes with the hope of getting the Melate without buying a ticket.

It is expected that today, October 12, those who made the first selection will be announced. We will see if any of the five women on the list pass, which, together, represent less than a third of the candidates, in an institution where female enrollment is higher than male enrollment. It is very sad that in the 113 years of existence of the National University and in the more than 300 of its predecessor, the Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico, never—never!—has a woman reached the Rectorate.

The candidates are Laura Susana Acosta, director of the National School of Higher Studies based in León, Guanajuato; Patricia Dolores Dávila, Secretary of Institutional Development of the UNAM; María Esperanza Martínez Romero, researcher at the Center for Genomic Sciences and emerita of the National System of Researchers (SNI); Guadalupe Valencia García, coordinator of Humanities, and Luz del Carmen Alicia Vilchis Esquivel, postgraduate professor at the Faculty of Arts and Design.

Obviously, the person who has the best chance of moving on to the next filter is Guadalupe Valencia, since she occupies the most important position. Along with her, we must consider Patricia Dolores Dávila, who also holds a relevant position in the central administration, which, we assume, has its importance, since it seems logical that whoever occupies the Rector's Office has a broad, overall vision of an institution subject to to the most absurd gigantism.

Of the men, the one who has had the most relevance so far is the economist Leonardo Lomelí, who currently holds the second most important position at UNAM, that of general secretary. In addition, he is also the only one who has made a proposal for the professionalization of the teaching staff, since continuing with 80 or 85% of “hourly” teachers and without job stability condemns the University to further deterioration.

Taking Imanol Ordorika to the Rectorate would mean making big changes at all levels, with great participation from the community, but his past as a brilliant student leader, a factor that should be favorable to him, will operate against him given the conservative vision of the Government Board.

Sergio Alcocer, a researcher at the Engineering Institute, is now trying, as he did eight years ago, to reach the Rectory tower. We'll see if he advances this time. Raúl Contreras, director of the Faculty of Law, has had, until now, considerable exposure in the selection process, but they point out that there are undesirable characters among his friends.

Germán Fajardo Dolci, director of the Faculty of Medicine, is betting that the predominance of doctors will continue, who, with the exception of Jorge Carpizo's four-year term, have monopolized the Rector's Office for half a century. Without detracting from the other candidates, the truth is that they do not seem to have the background and relationships necessary to reach the highest Unamite position, although this may possibly be a mistaken perception.

The important thing, whoever is chosen, is that they address problems that have become old without any apparent intention to resolve them. The professionalization of the teaching profession is urgent, as is freeing the scholarship holders of the National System of Researchers from the unproductive bureaucracy to which they are subjected, since they periodically dedicate a good part of their time to filling out forms to maintain "support", which deprives many to resort to self-rehashingif not to plagiarism, while they take time away from the renewal of knowledge.

Other tasks are to democratize, as much as possible, internal life, demand results, reward what is truly worth it, discipline the administrative staff, free the Justo Sierra auditorium, today in the hands of the lumpen; dismantle building H and combat the pests, not so much those of bedbugs, but those of favoritism, corruption and other scourges.

Humberto Musacchio
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Nathan Rivera
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