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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Four candidates in contention for UPR presidency

Ethel Ríos Orlandi

By The Star Staff

There are four candidates vying to become the permanent University of Puerto Rico (UPR) president, the STAR has learned.

They are Ubaldo Córdova-Figueroa, UPR’s executive vice president for Academic Affairs & Research; Ethel Ríos Orlandi, a former UPR-Río Piedras chancellor; current UPR-Río Piedras Chancellor Luis Ferrao Delgado; and UPR-Arecibo Chancellor Carlos Andújar Rojas.

Ríos Orlandi is a biochemist and science professor at UPR who also has taught in the Pharmacy School and in the Natural Sciences Department. She recently came out in support of the proposed university reform that is before the island Legislature.

Córdova and the UPR Governing Board were criticized earlier this year by some sectors for supporting the appointment of former UPR President Jorge Haddock for a teaching job after he was ousted from the position. Córdova said at the time it was part of the contract signed with him.

There are sources that have assured the STAR that Ferrao is the candidate promoted by La Fortaleza, which has denied the claims.

The sources have said that Ferrao is the candidate being pushed by former UPR Board chairman Walter Alomar, who is very close to Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia. La Fortaleza said the governor has always promoted the university’s autonomy.

Former UPR President José Saldaña said in Tuesday’s STAR that the governor must stay out of the process because an atmosphere of limitations and conflicts awaits the new president and will test his or her character or lack of it. UPR is facing budget restrictions as a result of the central government bankruptcy.

Saldaña said whoever is elected president must have the guts to make cuts and be creative and find ways to raise revenues. He believes that because some campuses have very few students, the new president will have to consolidate campuses.

“On an island of 100 by 35 miles where most university campuses are within 15 to 20 minutes of each other, the current duplication of physical, administrative, and programmatic structures is not justified,” he said.

He also said UPR must eliminate degrees or programs that are no longer relevant.

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