By The Star Staff
University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Río Piedras Campus Chancellor Luis Ferrao Delgado was elected permanent president of the island’s main public university system Thursday, after receiving eight of the 13 votes of the UPR governing board.
The vote was conducted in a secret ballot. UPR Arecibo Chancellor Carlos Andújar Rojas only received three votes even though a Justice Department probe exonerated him of allegations he had misused his government-issued car.
Meanwhile, the university did not put a stop to a directive from Interim President Mayra Olavarría Cruz that may leave about 47% of the estimated 3,000 UPR professors jobless.
At the same meeting in which the governing board select the permanent president but had not done so at press time, Olavarría could not say how much money UPR would save with the initiative or whether she had informed the Labor Department that thousands of workers may lose their jobs.
Olavarría justified her decision by saying she has the duty to maximize available resources at a time when UPR is losing students.
“What I am suggesting is a sort of sharing of [tenured] professors,” she said. “All professors must have a full load of classes.”
She insisted that many of the professors that currently are under contract and are temporary will be hired back to teach classes if the work cannot be performed with the tenured professors.
One board member, Jorge Valentín, said the academic committee of the board should find ways to give permanence to some of the professors who are currently under contract.
Olavarría in a document directed to all chancellors titled “Criteria for the Programming of Undergraduate Registration,’’ a copy of which was obtained by the STAR, established guidelines for course offerings that would severely limit classes due to budget cuts but would also result in some 1,400 professors who are temporary or under contract losing their jobs.
The document says that the first step in academic programming is to ensure that the course being offered is part of the curricular sequence of a specific undergraduate program.
Before offering a second section for a specific course, officials must ensure that the first section of the course is filled to maximum capacity. The second section must have at least 50% of the maximum capacity.
If there is a need for more sections of a specific course, the students will have to take the classes in other units or campuses of the university system. The first option before programming additional sections should be to increase the capacity of the sections already programmed, according to the directive.