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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

No place for partisan support in UPR presidency selection process

By José Saldaña

The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Governing Board must ignore and/or rule out any candidate who has requested partisan support for their candidacy.

Today, Wednesday, April 27, I see with great surprise a headline from an article in the San Juan Daily Star “UPR presidential candidate says he didn’t seek help from ex-governor,” which stated that UPR Río Piedras Campus Chancellor Luis Ferrao allegedly sought, through ex-Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced, votes in the Governing Board for his candidacy for the presidency of the UPR.

Naturally, the chancellor denied it, alleging that he does not know Vázquez Garced. But this is the second time that this type of accusation against Ferrao has come to light.

On Feb. 21, I wrote an article stating that “With great surprise and indignation I read on page 5 of the San Juan Star, Monday, February 21, the news with the headline Sources: Pro-statehood group backs Río Piedras chancellor for UPR presidency.”

“The article points out that despite Fortaleza (Governor) having insisted on its neutrality in the process of selecting the president of the UPR, the Fuerza Estadista Organization met at the headquarters of the New Progressive Party to support the candidacy of the [chancellor] of the Río Piedras Campus, Dr. Luis Ferrao Delgado.”

“This gross intervention of a political party organization in the selection process must be censured by the Governing Board of the UPR and its members must indicate if there has been political intervention with them for the selection of Ferrao as president. If this is so, what is the value of the evaluation that will have to be carried out by the Academic Senates of the 11 campuses. Given these facts, it is pertinent for the Governing Board to express itself to find out if -- without analyzing the candidates -- there is already a determination in this regard. If so, that would be a flawed process that should be aborted and start another, discarding the candidate or candidates who are seeking political endorsements to avoid the pertinent and regulatory evaluations of their performance.”

So much for the article that I wrote reacting to the one that appeared in the San Juan Star at that time.

In today’s article, April 27, Ferrao points out that he has not requested such help from the former governor, but what happens is that it does not necessarily have to be him who requests it, since we know that there are political groups that are possibly doing it because they are politically supporting Ferrao’s candidacy. A message came to me by email about it.

Has that message also reached the members of the Governing Board? It would be good for the San Juan Star to investigate …

José M. Saldaña, DMD, MPH, is a former president of the University of Puerto Rico.

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