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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Profs’ reps demand apology from UPR Governing Board member

UPR Governing Board member Herman Cestero

By The Star Staff

Two University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Governing Board representatives for professors are demanding a public apology from board member Herman Cestero for derogatory remarks he made about UPR professors that were published by the STAR.

In an interview with the STAR, Cestero said he was not going to apologize for the time being. The letter was sent to the academic senates in each campus. In response to a question from the STAR, Cestero said that if Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, who appointed him to the board position, asks for his resignation because of his remarks, he will abide by the request.

In an article in the Jan. 14 STAR, Cestero said the University of Puerto Rico Board has fallen victim to vultures seeking a cut of the estimated $12 billion in federal reconstruction funds, socialist practices and lazy professors.

The letter that was sent to Cestero by Carlos A. Galiano and Margarita Villamil said Cestero’s remarks denote a lack of ethics and professionalism against certain sectors of UPR. The letter notes that Cestero “does not know about the diversity of the work done by professors.”

The letter notes that UPR professors generally have 12 credits of classes at a minimum that must be combined with tasks related to research and administration. Despite all of that, “our first order professors have achieved the highest acknowledgements by federal agencies, accreditation entities, without leaving out that we have professors that have achieved distinctions such as emeritus, honorable distinctions and magistral lessons, locally and internationally,” the letter states.

The letter also said that they would like Cestero to display the level of productivity at the governing board that he demands from the professors in obtaining more financial resources for UPR. Cestero said “that is their opinion.”

The allegations made by Cestero were that socialist practices have destroyed UPR’s permanence. He said UPR has fallen victim to incompetent professors who are complacent in their jobs.

“They work and strive for five to seven years until they achieve permanence [tenure], then they vegetate [for] 25 years until they retire. In the meantime, incompetence overtakes them and they form packs, which include young people who aspire to inherit power. These packs protect the power of the incompetent, a phenomenon that we are seeing in our system and is very evident in Carolina where it has obtained wide coverage in the media but continues to go unpunished and resistant even to kryptonite,” he said, referring to STAR articles about irregular appointments made by UPR Carolina Chancellor José Meza. The governing board recently ratified the appointments.

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