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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

UPR presidential candidate says he didn’t seek help from ex-governor

University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras Chancellor Luis Ferrao

By The Star Staff

As the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) governing board is slated to choose a permanent UPR president possibly next week, sources told the STAR that at least one of the candidates allegedly sought help from a former governor to garner board votes.

UPR Río Piedras Chancellor Luis Ferrao, nonetheless, denied information from STAR sources to the effect that he sought the help of former governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, who appointed some of the board members, to lobby on his behalf for votes.

“The information that was given to you is false,” Ferrao told the STAR. “I don’t know Wanda Vázquez; I have not spoken to her, much less asked for her help.”

Recently, the governing board interviewed the four candidates with the goal of selecting a candidate possibly at its April 29 meeting, but the date has been pushed back, the STAR learned.

The sources said UPR Arecibo Campus Chancellor Carlos Andújar and Alexandra Medina, who works at the National Science Foundation, were the candidates who most positively impressed the board during the interview process.

The sources also said Ubaldo Córdova, the vice president of academic affairs and research at UPR and another candidate for president, performed poorly in the interview process because he distanced himself from questions related to his role in the accreditation problems of the Río Piedras Medical Sciences Campus.

“After last week’s interviews, Córdova, who was one of the candidates pushed by former board president Walter Alomar, has weakened,” one of the sources said.

Córdova’s candidacy gained some strength during the evaluation of the academic senates in the 11 campuses because he supports the university reform bill currently before the Legislature.

Ferrao’s interview was described as “average.” As a result, the sources told the STAR, he is allegedly seeking the help of Vázquez Garced, who appointed some of the members of the governing board, to lobby for votes.

The STAR previously obtained information that the organization FeEstadistaUPR organized a meeting recently at the Iglesia Restauración en Cristo to endorse Ferrao for university president.

Ferrao indicated that he has support in writing from former Education Secretary César Rey, writer Mayra Santos Febres, scholar and essayist Luce López Baralt, law professor Ana Cristina Gómez and Daniel Lind, a painter from Loíza.

The sources assured the STAR that Ferrao asked Vázquez Garced to intervene on his behalf with some of the board members, such as Ricardo Dalmau and Alejandro Camporreale, to obtain the votes he needs. Vázquez Garced could not be reached for comment.

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