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La Fortaleza denies having any hand in selection of UPR president


University of Puerto Rico Arecibo Campus Chancellor Carlos Andújar Rojas

By The Star Staff


La Fortaleza denied allegations Sunday that it was influencing the selection of a permanent University of Puerto Rico (UPR) president in favor of current UPR Río Piedras Chancellor Luis Ferrao Delgado while UPR Arecibo Chancellor Carlos Andújar Rojas said such allegations won’t stop him from applying for the job.


Andújar has not yet applied for the position because he is still thinking about it, but he acknowledged that his documents are ready.


“I am a chancellor already and one does not lose anything by submitting oneself to the process,” Andújar told the STAR. “I don’t think there is a need for external influences other than the five references [requested in the application].”


Ferrao has filed his candidacy for the position but did not answer STAR requests for comment. The STAR also learned that a third person, a female candidate, also applied for the job but at press time had not been identified.


The deadline for application is today and sources told the STAR that Ferrao is the candidate being pushed by La Fortaleza. He is the candidate being pushed by former UPR Governing Board chairman Walter Alomar, who is very close to Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, one of the sources said.


A group of pro-statehood university students, FEstadistasUPRii, on Sunday also expressed support for Ferrao in a posting, which got the thumbs up of former UPR-Cayey Chancellor Juan Varona Echeandía, who pleaded guilty to charges related to the CRECE project and was ousted as a tenured professor in 2021.


The sources said Ferrao has the support of some of the UPR Governing Board members such as chairwoman Mayda Velasco, vice president Emilio Colón, and members Antonio Monroig and Alejandro Camporreale, along with the backing of Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos Alicea and of the representative from the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority.


Another sector, however, is supporting Andújar because, they say, he is more of an independent thinker and will do what is needed to put the university on a solid fiscal path.


La Fortaleza denied it was intervening in the candidacy.


“The governor has always respected the University of Puerto Rico’s autonomy and has indicated that the approval of a new president is in the hands of the Governing Board,” La Fortaleza said in remarks to the STAR. “The governor has emphasized that the selected person must take the university to its maximum capacity.”

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