UNAM enters a decisive stage; community consultation days conclude
Today concludes the 49 days of consultation that the UNAM Governing Board set aside to listen to the community's opinions about the University or the support for one of the 17 candidates seeking the Rectorship.
Next Thursday, after deliberation, the Board will announce the names of those who, in accordance with university legislation and taking into consideration the results of the auscultation, as well as the documentation presented, have the best qualities to lead UNAM during the period 2023-2024.
In 14 more days, the full Board will begin to interview the finalists and the University's media – TV UNAM and Radio UNAM – will give them spaces to present their work programs.
In writing, the Governing Board will continue to receive the opinion of the community until next November 3.
In an unprecedented event, for the first time in this century, the Governing Board anticipated the start of the succession process for the month of August, in order to extend the consultation time to the
university community, as advanced Excelsior One week before.
On Monday, August 21, the call was launched and on Thursday of that same week, in another unprecedented event in a succession process, the Board began meetings with the University Council commissions, the Area and Postgraduate academic councils, the technicians of Scientific Research, Humanities, National Preparatory School and College of Sciences and Humanities.
The objective of the meetings, which took place between August 24 and September 1, was to explore the current situation of UNAM and its perspectives, but also to define what profiles to look for among the candidates to succeed Enrique in office. Graue.
Defending university autonomy, addressing gender violence, improving the conditions of the academic staff, looking at the university baccalaureate as well as putting emphasis on academic quality and updating study plans, were part of the constant themes in the nine days of meetings between the Board and the collegiate bodies.
In addition, it was outlined that among the characteristics that the new rector must have are that he be a non-partisan, sensitive and empathetic person, with the capacity for dialogue and that he knows the National University in all its magnitude.
In some of the meetings, members of the Board highlighted that although it is not done by public vote, the succession process is democratic.
For example, Margarita Luna Ramos, one of the 15 notables in charge of appointing the new rector, said before the University Legislation and Incorporation and Revalidation commissions of the University Council that democracy should not be confused with public voting or identified exclusively with it, because the approaches with the community are an example of the democracy that exists in the relay at UNAM.
On August 29, Vicente Quitarte, another member of the Board, explained to this newspaper that the extension of the community audit period was motivated precisely by making the process more democratic.
By August 31, after finishing the meetings with the UNAM collegiate bodies, the Governing Board, divided into five commissions, began to receive groups of university students interested in exposing their points of view on some distinguished university student. to head the Rectorate.
During this stage, in addition to the support for the different applicants from researchers, academics and students, the presence of officials such as José Nabor Cruz, executive secretary of Coneval, who came to support the secretary general of UNAM, Leonardo, has been seen. Lomeli Vanegas; to senators Eduardo Ramírez, president of the Senate Political Coordination Board, and Olga Sánchez Cordero, as well as INAI commissioners who appeared before the Board to express their support for the director of the Faculty of Law, Raúl Contreras Bustamante.
On September 6, the Governing Board announced the names of the 17 candidates to become the ex officio head of UNAM, which included five women and 12 men, and made public their work plans.
Seven of them are part of Rector Graue's staff: Luis Álvarez Icaza, administrative secretary; Patricia Dávila, Secretary of Institutional Development; William Lee, Scientific Research coordinator; Leonardo Lomelí, general secretary; Guadalupe Valencia, coordinator of Humanities; Imanol Ordorika, director of Institutional Evaluation and Alberto Vital, director of the Teaching Center for Foreigners.
Three are directors of schools and colleges: Laura Acosta, director of the León National School of Higher Studies; Raúl Contreras, director of the Faculty of Law, and Germán Fajardo, director of the Faculty of Medicine.
Five are former officials of the highest educational institution: Sergio Alcocer, who was general secretary; Héctor Hernández, former coordinator of Planning, Budgeting and Evaluation; Ambrosio Velasco, former director of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters; Jorge Alfredo Cuéllar, former director of the FES Cuautitlán and Luz del Carmen Vilchis, former director of the National School of Plastic Arts, today the Faculty of Arts and Design.
And two are outside the internal grid that involves seeking the Rectorate: the subject teacher Daniel Trejo and the scientist, María Esperanza Martínez.
In the last month, applicants have visited various university entities that have invited them to present their job proposals.
The activity has been more intense than in other processes, since the communities of Ciudad Universitaria faculties, foreign schools, institutes and centers, as well as faculties of Higher Studies and high school units, have shown more interest in listening to the applicants and interacting. with them during the meetings.
On September 18, the Board left CU to meet with the FES communities and schools in the interior of the Republic; On October 2, he met virtually with members of national academic units and international headquarters in San Antonio, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tucson, Boston, Canada, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Cuba. On October 5, also remotely, he had meetings with university students from high school campuses and other academic entities in Mexico City, but outside the central campus.
So far, the process has developed without incident, except for the one generated on September 20 by the dissemination of the insult that the now former general secretary of the Faculty of Law, Ricardo Rojas Arévalo, launched against the director of the National School of Forensic Sciences, Zoraida García, calling her “fucking old culera” in the live broadcast of a faculty event.
The university student accused political gender violence, since the reason for the disqualifications she suffered was having sent a letter to the Governing Board in which she expressed her support for the candidates Luis Álvarez Icaza, Germán Fajardo, William Lee, Leonardo Lomelí and Guadalupe Valencia.
Garcia told Excelsior that his only sin was not also referring to the director of the Faculty of Law, Raúl Contreras, as he did not do so about 11 other candidates. In response, Contreras offered an apology to Zoraida García and fired Rojas Arévalo.
The university community repudiated the incident and offered its support to García. A day later, a group of students from the National School of Forensic Sciences marched towards the Rector's Office, while the Faculty of Law closed its gates in the middle of the demonstration.
Rojas Arévalo apologized to the doctor, as did Carlos Cuenca and Gabriel Regino, who supported her comment with laughter. For its part, the UNAM Ombudsman for University Rights, Equality and Gender Violence Assistance initiated the corresponding complaint. Thus, after a month and 18 days, the succession process enters a decisive stage this week, in which the finalists to lead the National Autonomous University of Mexico will be known.
A NEW ROUTE
Some unprecedented aspects that the path to the relief at UNAM has had:
- The starting signal for the process was given in August and not in September to extend the community consultation period.
- The Governing Board began meetings with various committees of the University Council and with the academic councils.
- There were also meetings with high school communities and other academic entities in CDMX, but outside CU.
- The Board also received groups of university students interested in presenting their points of view on profiles to the Rector's Office.
- Various entities and university communities have invited the rectors to present their work proposals.
- Consultations have been made, in person or virtual, with university students who are outside CU, either in Mexico or abroad.
Given the arrival of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), “it is important to maintain the teaching of handwriting, because it is a substantial tool in learning,” highlighted Dr. Domingo Alberto Vital, director of the Teaching Center for Foreigners. from UNAM.
He recognized that AI and the use of socio-digital networks are one of the great challenges facing philology, so work must be done to reach the new generations, who are its biggest users, “not to inhibit them, but to show them the wealth of what they have in their hands, which allows them to manifest their intentions, thoughts and transcend.”
From the editorial staff
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