Do not fall into the trap hatched by the extreme left and the APPU
By José M. Saldaña
Special to The Star
I recently wrote a column in which I expose a strategy of the ideological left that has been hatched by the Puerto Rican Association of University Professors (APPU by its Spanish initials) to submit to the University of Puerto Rico Governing Board only two candidates of the faculty as those endorsed by the university’s Academic Senates for the presidency of the institution. In this case, the two members of the university ideological left submitted as candidates would be Dr. Alexandra Medina Borja and Dr. Ubaldo Córdova so that the other two candidates, doctors Carlos Andújar and Luis Ferrao, would be left out of possible consideration.
It is also intended that the decision of the Academic Senates be binding for the Governing Board. In other words, the Governing Board would have to choose between one of these two people from the ideological left only. This is a maneuver to tie the hands of the Governing Board by limiting the options. The Board must reject such a maneuver or it would become a rubber stamp of the university ideological left and of the APPU.
I exhort the members of the Governing Board to carefully analyze the curriculum vitae of the four candidates in order to evaluate them and put in the proper perspective the recommendations made to them by the Academic Senates as manipulated by the APPU. Ultimately, the responsibility for selecting a university president rests exclusively with the Governing Board. The Board can select one of the four candidates that have been submitted, or it can select any other candidate that they believe could be the best person to lead the institution and maintain our university as one under the system of North American state universities accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
We know that there is running through the corridors of Puerto Rico’s Capitol building a university reform bill, submitted by Sen. José Vargas Vidot and defeated by a single vote, to make our university a type of Latin American University -- one of the retrograde ones that still exist -- where there is no Governing Board and the prevailing governing system is one of co-government by students and teachers, but with a budget generated by taxpayers and assigned by the state to the institution. With the selection of either of the two leftists as university president, this bill would have their endorsement and this time it would be easily approved and conceivably signed into law.
The Governing Board should not fall into this trap strategically concocted by the extreme left, because what is at stake now more than ever is the very existence of the University of Puerto Rico. In the hands of you members of the Governing Board, is the future of the university … be very careful with what you do.
José M. Saldaña, DMD, MPH, is a former president of the University of Puerto Rico.